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: https://www.raptorresource.org/birdcams/upper-mississippi-onalaska-cam/

Decorah
72°
few clouds
humidity: 94%
wind: 9mph SE
H 71 • L 69
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: https://youtu.be/2-xRSBBeIYs. 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

News
September 19, 2019: D27's map

D27 visits!

D27 visited her home territory! On September 12th, we tracked her to just a couple hundred feet from N2B. We’ve seen several subadult eagles since we started working, but we missed her. As Brett noted “D-27 continues to stay fairly close to her natal area, shifting often.” Stay safe, D27 – we hope to see you soon! A thousand thanks to Brett Mandernack and the staff of Eagle Valley for sharing their knowledge, maps, and expertise with us. If you’d

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September 9, 2019: Subadult eagle on the maple

A report from Decorah!

What’s going on in the latest episode of ‘As The Nest Turns’? If you watch our Flyway Cam, you know that a lot of eagles are on the move now. Young are dispersing and non-territorial adults (plus some territorial adults) are slowly wandering out of the north and towards sheltered winter territory and flyways. Is this what happened to the subadult we watched for much of the summer? He quit nestorations on N1B (the second nest built on the original

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D27 fall 2019 migration map

Migration report: D27 phones home!

D27 sent another postcard – from Decorah! Our little eaglet began her fall 2019 migration on August 11. She arrived on her winter territory on August 25, 14 days and about 690 miles later. Between the 11th and the 13th, D27 flew an incredible 336 miles in 39 hours, averaging a speed of almost nine miles per hour. Her stats look like this: She flew her biggest day on August 12, traveling roughly 138 miles, or almost 20% of her

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August 20, 2019: Mom hasn't yet brought in any sticks herself, but she's supervised nest building and moved sticks!

Fall of 2019: Weekly Decorah Eagles Update

We don’t normally update when we shut off our cameras, but things got complicated this year when a subadult male eagle began building a nest at N1. We don’t know whether the new nest is for fun or for keeps since subadult eagles sometimes build ‘play’ nests. We’ll see who nests where later this year! Click the link below to read the latest updates and view a photo gallery of nestorations! You can also visit our Facebook gallery at https://bit.ly/2ZtSBjn.

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August 22, 2019: Sub-adult eagle in Decorah

8-22-19 ~ Day Trip to Decorah

Story and photos by Robin Brumm Thursday was supposed to be mostly sunny and high temps in the mid 70’s … What to do, what to do? Go to Decorah of course! So I got up at dark o’clock and off I went. When I got to Decorah I didn’t see anybirdie in the usual perch places. I parked the car and looked up at maple, and there was the sub-adult (SA)! How do they do that … Just appear

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>> More News
Nest Records
Decorah Eagles 2019 Nesting Record
Egg-Laying
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.

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

Fledging
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 169 days 4 hours old.
D33 is 166 days 3 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
SOAR (soarraptors.org)
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.

Videos

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.