Decorah Bald Eagles

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August 17, 2019: The Decorah Eagles cam has been put offline while we complete cam maintenance. We will continue to record locally in case anything interesting happens. We plan to be back online in late September or early October at the latest. In the meantime, we suggest watching the Flyway:

clear sky
humidity: 100%
wind: 5mph NW
H 56 • L 53
About the Decorah Eagles

About the Eagles

The Decorah eagles are nesting near the Decorah Trout Hatchery, located at 2325 Siewers Spring Rd in Decorah, IA. The female is known as Mom and the male is known as DM2 (for the second Decorah male eagle). In general, they begin courtship in October, productive mating in late January or early February, and egg-laying in mid to late February. Hatching usually begins in late March to early April, and the eaglets fledge in mid-to-late June. While young usually disperse between August and October, the adults remain on territory year round. They eat live and and dead fish, squirrels, other birds, rabbit, muskrat, deer, possum and anything else they can catch or find. To learn more about bald eagles in general, please follow this link to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website. Visiting Decorah to see the eagles? Please read through our guide to eagle etiquette >> Bald Eagle Etiquette.

Female eagles are larger than male eagles, with slightly darker heads and more pronounced brows. The image below shows the differences in appearance between Mom and DM2 and should help in ID’ing them.

Mom and DM2

Nest Territory and Locations

Nest map and compass. Roll over the image and click the arrows to move right and left

History of the Decorah Eagles

Dad, Mom’s original mate, disappeared in April of 2018. Based on plumage color, Mom was four years old in 2007, making her fifteen years old in 2018. Click here for a guide to aging bald eagles based on plumage color and patterns.

After two other males came and went (you can read more about that here), Mom accepted a third suitor. As of December 2018, Mom and DM2 were working on nest N2B, defending the territory together, and copulating.

Four nests (N0, N1, N2, and N2B) have been built on the Decorah territory. N0 was destroyed in a storm, the eagles left N1 on their own, and N2 was also destroyed in a storm. Fourth nest N2B is a little more complicated. Humans Neil Rettig and Kike Arnal built N2B in August of 2015. We hoped the starter nest would encourage the eagles to adopt it and keep building, which they did! Footage of the build can be seen here: A blog about the nest build can be read here.

  • 2018: After two male eagles come and go, Mom accepts a new mate. The two begin working on N2B in October.
  • 2018: Dad disappears in April of 2018. He is last seen at N2B on April 18, 2018.
  • 2015: Mom and Dad adopt N2B in October of 2015
  • 2015: Humans build a nest (N2B) to encourage the eagles to begin building near the former location of N2
  • 2015: N2 is destroyed during a storm the morning of July 18
  • 2012: Mom and Dad begin a new nest (N2) in mid-October on the north bank of Trout Creek about 700 feet from N1, which is still standing
  • 2007: A four-year old female (Mom) joins Dad at N1 in early December
  • 2007: OM disappears in early fall
  • 2007: N0 is destroyed during a storm. Dad and OM begin building a new nest (N1) in the yard of a home just north of the hatchery
  • 2002’ish: the male eagle (Dad) and his original mate (OM) build a nest (N0) in the hills to the east of the hatchery
Quick facts
Common name: Bald Eagle
Scientific name: Haliaeetus leucocephalus
Length: 2.3–3.1 feet | 71–96 cm
Wingspan: 5.9 – 7.5 feet | 1.7-2.2 meters
Weight: 6.5 – 13.8 pounds | 3–6.3 kilograms
Lifespan: Up to 40 years in the wild

Bald Eagle Vocalization

August 15, 2019: the subadult eagle ups his stick game!

Stick play!

Mom joined the stick party yesterday and the subadult upped his stick game today, choosing larger, heavier sticks to place on top of his initial platform. As I point out below, this is pretty similar to our builds – establish a platform and start piling on the sticks, with smaller sticks and some vegetation to fill in the gaps. We hope you enjoy the sticky fun as much as we did! Decorah Eagles 8/15/19: SA on stick duty again –

August 14, 2019: The sub-adult in Decorah

Videos from Decorah and the Flyway

We have spectacular offerings from Decorah and the Flyway tonight. I loved all of these videos, but don’t miss ‘Mom and SA’ and ‘Look at What I am Bringing You Mom!’ Ever wonder what it looks like when an eagle starts a nest? Even if Mom ends up back at N2B, it looks a lot like this: tentative placement of early sticks and eagles spending time in a tree together. At the Flyway, birds are stacking up as they gather

August 13, 2019: Mom Decorah

Cam shutoff announcement

Thank you so much for watching with us at Decorah and Decorah North this year! We are shutting the Decorah and Decorah North cameras down at 5pm on Saturday, August 17. Please join us Friday August 16, for two goodbye chats at 8 to 10 a.m. and 4 to 5 p.m. CDT. Writing this post made me reflect on the past year…and what a year it was! From DM2’s first feeding through the recovery of the Decorah and Decorah North

August 9, 2019: Subadult brings sticks to N1

Friday Night: As The Nest Turns

Prepare for another edition of ‘As The Nest Turns’, an episode that opens with the subadult eagle delivering a stick to N1 (! Where is DM2? Is the subadult interested in Mom? Is Mom interested in the sub-adult? And why is nest work – if it is nest work – occurring so early? We went to our eagle council with the following questions about DM2. Could he have migrated? Did his ‘shyness’ around Mom indicate a weaker pair bond (followers

August 4, 2019: Mom Decorah

Videos From Decorah and the Flyway

Get your Wednesday night videos! I love seeing Mom Decorah against the setting sun – she is spectacular! – but do not miss Sandhill Cranes vocalizing together as they work out boundaries and social relationships on their staging grounds. We’re still getting questions about Mom and the sub-adult. We’ll run through what we do and don’t know again tomorrow. All things in Eagle Time! Decorah Eagles 8/4/19: Mom, the moon, sunset, and subadult – Goodnight, Mom. Goodnight, subadult. Good

>> More News
Nest Records
Decorah Eagles 2019 Nesting Record
Egg #1: February 22, 2019 @ 10:32 PM CT
Egg #2: February 26, 2019 @ 6:44 PM CT
Egg #3: March 2, 2019 @ 7:05 PM CT

The first egg broke on March 11.

Hatch #1: April 4, 2019 @ 6:54 PM CT (D32)
Hatch #2: April 7, 2019, @ 7:19 PM CT (D33)

D30, last year’s first fledgling, fledged on 6/16/18 @ 2:55PM CDT

D32 is 136 days 10 hours old.
D33 is 133 days 9 hours old.
Eaglets and Outcomes >>
 YearNest EagletsOutcomes
2018N2B3 – D29, D30, D31All fledged.
2017N2B3 – D26, D27, D28All fledged. D27 is still alive.
2016N2B2 – D24, D25D25 was struck by a car and died.
D24 is still alive.
2015N23 – D21, D22, D23All fledged
2014N23 – D20, D19, D18All fledged. D18 and D19 were electrocuted.
D20 is still alive and living at SOAR.
2013N23 – D17, D16, D15All fledged
2012N13 – D14, D13, D12All fledged. D12 and D14 were electrocuted.
2011N13 – E1, E2, E3All fledged. We last saw D1 in July of 2014.
Her current status is unknown
2010N13 – Not namedAll fledged
2009N13 – Not namedAll fledged
2008N12 – Not namedAll fledged

We often get questions about where the eaglets go after they disperse. We tracked eaglets in 2011, 2012, 2014, 2016, and 2017 to try to answer this question. For more information, visit our eagle maps.


Decorah Eagles Video Playlist

Click the icon on the top left of the stream to view a full list of videos from our 2019 playlist, or visit our our YouTube channel.