Decorah North Bald Eagle Cam

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Welcome to the Decorah North Eagles! We hope you enjoy watching and learning with us! Click the livestream to watch and scroll down the page to learn more about the eagles and their surroundings. For branch ID, follow this link.


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.

Adults
Decorah North Bald Eagles: DNF and Mr. North

Decorah North Bald Eagles: DNF and Mr. North

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: https://www.raptorresource.org/2019/01/20/north-nest-announcement/

Nests

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 56 feet off the ground.

  • In 2021, the nest was 8.25 feet at its longest point and 6.25 feet at its widest point. Measured outermost stick to outermost stick, the nest measured 12 feet across. We can’t really get a height on it, since we can’t get anywhere near the bottom and the nest slopes downward from the top. Our best guess is six feet high at its tallest measure.
  • In 2019, the nest was seven feet long at its longest point, four feet wide at its widest point, was about 3.5 feet high, and had 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

April 19, 2022: DN15 and DN16

Eaglet Growth and Development: Week Four

We’re writing a series of blogs about the first few weeks of an eaglet’s life. An eaglet spends roughly 75 to 80 days in the nest. For about the first half, it grows and gains weight. For about the second half, it grows flight feathers and starts developing the skills it will need post-fledge. We will focus on week four in this blog. DN15 and DN16 turn 25 and 24 days old today. During week three (fourteen to twenty-one days),

April 5, 2021: DN13, left and DN14, right

Eaglet Growth and Development, Week Two

We’re writing a series of blogs about the first few weeks of an eaglet’s life. An eaglet spends roughly 75 to 80 days in the nest. For about the first half, it grows and gains weight. For about the second half, it grows flight feathers and starts developing the skills it will need post-fledge. We will focus on week two in this blog. In their second week of development, the eaglets will gain roughly two pounds, experience rapid growth in

March 26, 2021: DN13 eats breakfast!

Eaglet Growth and Development: Week One

We’re writing a series of blogs about the first few weeks of an eaglet’s life. An eaglet spends roughly 75 to 80 days in the nest. For about the first half, it grows and gains weight. For about the second half, it grows flight feathers and starts developing the skills it will need post-fledge. We will focus on week one in this blog. What can we expect in the first week following hatching? Like humans, growing eaglets have developmental milestones.

Canada Geese at 24 hours old, Charlo Osprey Nest, explore.org, just prior to the Big Leap

Canada Geese: Precocial versus Altricial

Altricial eaglets rely on parental care until they fledge. But goslings are precocial: capable of moving around, self-feeding, and leaving the nest shortly after hatch. What does that mean? Read on to learn more! Canada Geese and Bald Eagles: Precocial versus Altricial From Stanford University: A precocial bird is “capable of moving around on its own soon after hatching.” The word comes from the same Latin root as “precocious.” Altricial means “incapable of moving around on its own soon after

Egg Colors and Shapes

The Chicago Peregrine Program inspired me to write a quick blog on the colors and shapes of eggs. Bald eagles have white eggs, peregrine falcons have eggs that range from light cream through brick red, and red-tailed hawks have pale eggs that are lightly splotched with brown. How and why do the birds we watch lay differently-colored and shaped eggs? In general, female birds inherit egg colors and patterns from their female parents. Egg-shell is made primarily of calcium carbonate,


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News

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May 10, 2022: Learning Eaglet Table Manners

Learning Eagle Table Manners

We were asked about eaglet growth and development during our explore.org Bird Week chat yesterday. Bald eagles spend about the first half of nest life – say, 35 to 40 days – gaining weight, growing limbs and feet, and growing and replacing feathers. In stage two – about 40 to 75 or 80 days – they begin preparing for life beyond the nest by building muscle, exploring their new wings, learning to unzip prey and feed themselves, and practicing their

November 7, 2017: Dad Decorah

Watching Bald Eagles

This is a flashback post first published on April 26 of 2012. I repost it every year when the eagles begin bringing suckerfish into the nest. For new followers: Bob (Anderson) founded the Raptor Resource Project and was its first director. You can learn more about him here: https://www.raptorresource.org/about-us/remembering-bob-anderson/ Bob took a turn operating the controls at the Bald eagle camera this morning. He was fascinated by Dad, who brought in three suckers in one hour. Suckerfish are ‘rough’ fish:

May 4, 2022: We love cuddle puddles! DN16 left and DN15, right. It's been fun to watch them play and explore their clown clomper feet and growing wings and tails.

Your mega-raptor (and Canada Goose!) Nestflix Wednesday Matinee!

As promised: your mega-raptor (and Canada Goose!) Nestflix Wednesday Matinee! DN15 and DN16 turn 39 and 38 days old today and are up to tweagle shenanigans: E-gulping fish, Eagle Kneiveling around the nest, practicing their Eagleibrium, and holding Flappathons as they explore their rapidly growing wings! It won’t be long before our two teen pterodactyls turn into sleek young fledglings, but there are plenty of Eagleicious Delicious moments to enjoy before that happens. Look for walking skills and balance to

May 3, 2022: DN16 and DN15 are big eagles now!

Standing and Walking: We’re Big Eaglets Now!

We concentrate on geese for a few days and DN15 and DN16 turn into tweagles: tween-age eaglets! Their weight gain is slowing, their mid-toes, foot pads, and tarsus are close to or at their adult size, and their juvenile feathers are unfurling and growing! DN15 and DN16’s wing chords and central retrixes (the central pair of tail feathers) will more than double in length over the next 40 days as they get ready for life beyond the nest. The next

April 17, 2022: DN15 slumbers blissfully away in the North nest

NestFlix and News: Decorah and Decorah North

Sorry, everyone – it has been a very busy week and I’m behind on the NestFlix! Read on to catch up on the latest news: new eagles in Decorah, rapidly growing eaglets at Decorah North, and Mother Goose and her eggs (we’re still looking for hatch on the 25th!). Thank you so much for watching, sharing, learning, and especially for caring! What a wild, interesting year it has been. Cross your fingers for all of our birds! Decorah North Eagles


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Nest Records

Decorah North Eagles 2022 Nesting Record


Egg-Laying
DNF laid egg #1 on February 16 @ 3:17 PM CT
DNF laid egg #2 on February 19 @ 4:15 PM CT

Hatching
DN15 hatched some time during the night of March 25 or early morning of March 26. We got our first glimpse at 6:27 AM
DN16 hatched at 4:25 PM on March 27.



Fledging
Fledging generally happens between 75 and 81 days of age, although it can happen a little earlier (especially if the nest has just one eaglet) or a little later. Female eagles fledge later than male eagles on average, although there is a period of overlap between about 77 and 79 days. In 2021, DN13 fledged at 78 days of age and DN14 fledged at 83 days of age.

Eaglets and Outcomes: Detailed Annual Information

Year Nest Parents Eaglets Known Outcomes
2021 DN4 Mr. North, DNF DN13, DN14 DN13 and DN14 both fledged successfully! As of early July, 2021, the two were exploring the North Valley and improving their flight skills. Black flies were not an issue at this nest in 2021.
2020 DN4 Mr. North, DNF DN11, DN12 DN11 died at 5:56 AM on April 10. It appeared to have an obstruction in its throat that it could not clear. DN12 fledged successfully.
2019 DN4 Mr. North, DNF DN9, DN10 DNF 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.
2018 DN3 Mr. North, Mrs. North DN7, DN8 Mrs. 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.
2017 DN3 Mr. North, Mrs. North DN4, DN5, DN6 DN6 died of hypothermia shortly after hatch. DN4 and DN5 survived and fledged.
2016 DN3 Mr. North, Mrs. North DN1, DN2, DN3 3 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.

Videos

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: https://www.youtube.com/c/RaptorResourceProject