Decorah North Bald Eagles

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Welcome to the third year of the Decorah North eagles! We hope you enjoy watching and learning with us! Click the livestream to watch, click here to pop video out, and scroll down the page to learn more about the eagles and their surroundings. For branch ID, follow this link.

Click here to make a donation to the Raptor Resource Project. Click here to buy a 2020 Decorah Eagles North calendar. Thank you for watching, learning, and caring!Thank you for watching, learning, and caring!
About the Decorah North Eagles

About the Eagles

The Decorah North eagles are nesting on private property north of Decorah, Iowa. Their nest is located in a white oak tree in a scrap of forest bordering a valley. A stream is located across a field where cattle are pastured. In general, the eagles 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.

The eagles eat live 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.


The male is known as Mr. North.  The female is the Decorah North Female, or DNF, who replaced Mrs. North in the summer of 2018. We don’t know exactly how or when it happened. You can read more about it here:

The first nest at the North site was built in a pine tree. The branches collapsed after the second nesting season and the eagles moved to a dead elm tree. They nested there for just one year before moving to their current location in late 2013. In August of 2018, their nest collapsed and slid or fell out of the nest tree during an extremely heavy storm. None of the tree branches were broken or damaged, so we decided to build a starter nest in the same spot. 2020 will mark their seventh season and fourth nest on this territory.

  • 2018: A female eagle (DNF, or Decorah North Female) replaces Mrs. North over the summer. The nest falls out of the tree following a storm in late August. Kike Arnal and Amy Ries build a starter nest in mid-September. Mr. North and DNF adopt it in October.
  • 2015: RRP adds cameras to the North Nest in September.
  • 2013: The tree falls. The eagles begin a new nest in a white oak tree.
  • 2011: The branches holding the nest collapse. The eagles build a new nest in a dead elm tree.
  • 2009: A pair of eagles establishes the Decorah North territory, building a nest in a white pine tree.

The North nest is about 56 feet off the ground. It is seven feet long at its longest point, four feet wide at its widest point, is about 3.5 feet high, and has a perimeter of roughly 18 feet.

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

Learn More About Bald Eagles
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February 19, 2020: DNF at the North Nest

Nestflix: Decorah North Eagles

We’re separating the Decorah North and Decorah nestflix tonight because we have so many of them! A quick reminder – there is a reasonably good chance we could see egg #1 at the Decorah North nest tonight…although only DNF knows for sure. We’re watching with crossed talons and bated breath! Thanks for pacing the delivery room floor with us! Decorah North Eagles February 19, 2020: Owl knocked Mr. North – and This is a little startling. An owl

February 19, 2020: DNF slumbers on the nest

Sweet Eagle Dreams!

This blog on eagle sleep was first published in 2017. I thought about it after watching Mr. North and DNF slumbering on their perches last night. Both eagles appeared to be sleeping very deeply. Were they dreaming? Do Bald Eagles Dream? Do bald eagles dream? Some footage of Mrs. North (Amy’s note: the first Decorah North female) got us discussing it. In the video, Mrs. North appears deeply asleep, with her head tucked underneath her wing. At eleven seconds, she starts

February 16, 2016: DM2

Monday NestFlix Megaroll!

We have your Monday Nestflix Mega-roll! We’re looking forward to another egg at Xcel Fort St. Vrain sometime today and crossing our talons for an eggciting week at both Decorah nests, although we’re a little egg-asperated with the forecast for Monday and Tuesday! We have a lot packed into today’s megaroll, so take your time and enjoy the videos and information! Floridians especially, make sure to check out the last item in our odds and ends. I think you’ll enjoy it!

February 17, 2020: DNF and Mr. North

Did You See? It’s Eggs-tra Lovey Dovey at the North Nest!

by Sherri Elliott Activity is ramping up with both Mr. North and DNF making multiple trips in daily with very long branches, wonky sticks, bedding, leaves, and fluffy grasses and today DNF brought in a rabbit leg and waited for a bit then left it on the mattress as she flew away. Was that a gift for Mr. North? He found it within minutes and took it away to eat having a picnic in the treetop perch to the right,

February 10, 2020: DM2 works on snow removal

Nestflix: So Egg-cited! Decorah, Decorah North, and GSB

It should be an egg-citing week for all of us! Ma FSV is spending a lot of time on her nest, often a sign that egg-laying is near, and eagles at both Decorah nests are working hard to finish last-minute pre-egg tasks – raising the crib rails, removing snow, loosening and aerating the nestcup, and bringing in piles of soft material for their egglets to be. Last year’s egg-laying schedule looked like this: Ma Fort St. Vrain laid her first

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Nest Records
Decorah North Eagles 2019 Nesting Record
Egg #1: February 21, 2019 @ 3:23 PM CT
Egg #2: February 24, 2019 @ 12:23 PM CT

Hatch #1: March 31, 2019, confirmed @ 6:01 PM CT (DN9)
Hatch #2: April 1, 2019, confirmed @ 6:32 PM CT (DN10)
DN10 died within a day of hatching. We don’t have a cause of death.

[countup date=2019/03/31-18] DN9 is [dhtimer] old.[/countup]

Eaglets and Outcomes

YearNest EagletsKnown Outcomes
2019DN4DN9, DN10DNF laid two eggs beginning on February 21st. Both hatched beginning on March31, but DN10 died shortly after hatch. DN9 abandoned the nest early following an intense blackfly swarm. David Kester from the Raptor Resource Project rescued him. He was cared for by SOAR and released in the fall of 2019.
2018DN3DN7, DN8Mrs. North laid one egg on 2/25/18. That egg broke in the wee hours of March 16. She reclutched on 4/12, laying two eggs. Both eggs hatched, but the eaglets succumbed to heat and blackfly bites on May 25.
2017DN3DN4, DN5, DN6DN6 died of hypothermia shortly after hatch. DN4 and DN5 survived and fledged.
2016DN3DN1, DN2, DN33 eggs hatched. DN3 died of cold and
malnourishment on May 11. Sibling
aggression was a significant factor. DN2
was killed by contaminated prey on
May 25th. DN1 survived to fledge.

We often get questions about where the eaglets go after they disperse. We have never tracked eaglets from this nest, but we have tracked eaglets from the Decorah nest. For more information, visit our eagle maps.


Decorah North 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 playlist here: