Decorah Bald Eagles

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Welcome to the tenth year of the Decorah Eagles! We hope you enjoy watching and learning with us!

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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.

Five nests (N0, N1, N2, N2B, and a second nest at N1) 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. In 2019, a sub-adult male eagle began building a second nest at the old N1 site, sometimes referred to as N1B. We’ll see if the eagles use it for the 2019 season.

  • 2019: Hatchery staff report Mom with an adult male eagle in early September. We don’t know whether or not this is DM2.
  • 2019: DM2 vanishes in mid-June and a 4.5-y/o sub-adult male eagle shows up on July 11. He begins building a nest at the old N1 site.
  • 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

October 18, 2019: Mom and DM2 at N2B

Friday Night Nestflix!

Whatta Day…to quote Sherri Elliott! We have some lovely videos from Decorah and Decorah North and a blog about migration. We fixed the audio (and a couple of other things) at the Flyway yesterday and seeing what looked like about 100,000 canvasback ducks got me thinking about migration. Thanks to all of you for watching, learning, and caring – and for your excitement about DM2. We were thrilled and we’re glad you are too! A special thanks to our camera

September 2019: Migrating Birds on the Mississippi Flyway

On Migration

At whatever moment you read these words, day or night, there are birds aloft in the skies of the Western Hemisphere, migrating. If it is spring or fall, the great pivot points of the year, then the continents are swarming with billions of traveling birds… – Living on the Wind: Across the Hemisphere with Migratory Birds We get a lot of questions about migration. Do the Decorah eagles migrate? Do our Peregrine falcons migrate? Where do they go when they

October 16, 2019: Unknown Male Eagle, N2B, Decorah

Nestflix for October 16, 2019

Time for Nestflix and chill! Eagles at both Decorah nests seem to be making up for lost time. While the North eagles and Mom Decorah were all seen on their respective territories, we really didn’t see them visiting their nests. That has changed! The eagles won’t start spending most of their time at the nest until just before egg-laying, which usually happens in mid-February. You are most likely to see them at the nest at dawn or at dusk –

October 15, 2019: Mom Decorah

Nestflix for October 15, 2019

The Decorah and Decorah North Eagles are back! We know we have Mr. North and DNF at the North nest. How about the Decorah nest? We know Mom is there. While there is a lot of agreement that the male looks like DM2 (fans have pointed our head shape, beak shape, and what we can see of his eyes), we’re still hoping to confirm with an iris shot – especially after last fall, when we thought we might never leave

September 30, 2019: Mom Decorah at N2B

Decorah and Decorah North Eaglecam Announcement

We are happy to announce that we will start streaming cameras again on October 14 at 12:00 PM Nest Time (Central)! We finished the tree work but we have a few more things to do before we can stream again. Between September 10 and September 26, we: Replaced two cameras and microphones at N2B and added a camera and microphone to N1. Although the subadult stopped working at N1 on or around September 1, we wanted to be ready if

>> 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)

Both eaglets abandoned the nest early following intense blackfly swarms.
D32 left the nest on June 4, 2019. She was 61 days old.
D33 left the nest on June , 2019. He was 59 days old.

D32 is 198 days 11 hours old.
D33 is 195 days 10 hours old.
Eaglets and Outcomes >>
 YearNest EagletsOutcomes
2019N2B2 – D32, D33Both eaglets abandoned the nest early
following an intense blackfly swarm.
They are currently being cared for at
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.