Decorah North Test

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Welcome to the fifth year of the Decorah North Eagles. We hope you enjoy watching and learning about bald eagles 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.

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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 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

April 12, 2021: DN13 back, DN14 front

Eaglet Growth and Development: Week Three

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 three in this blog. DN13 and DN14 are 18 and 16 days old. During week two (seven to 14 days), the

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.

March 10, 2021: Zooey from the back

How do we know falcon Zooey’s age?

How do we know that falcon Zooey is two years old? Peregrine falcons have two distinct age-related plumages: juvenile and adult. Juvenile falcons have heavily barred underparts and brownish topsides (“brown birds”), mature falcons have pale undersides with black-barred bellies and blue/slate topsides (“blue meanies”), and two-year-old falcons like Zooey have a mix of adult and juvenile feathers. I love this stage! Tail Feathers (Retrices) Like all peregrine falcons, Zooey has twelve tailfeathers that are numbered one to six from

Hatch Watch 2021!

Tik-tok hatch clock! We’re on hatch watch at Decorah North!

We are on hatch watch at Decorah North! While both eaglets still have open body cavities, most of their major morphological changes are done. At this point: Their eyelids still need to close all the way. Their eyes are growing into their sockets, more or less. Eaglets often have big bulgy ‘blueberry eyes’ when they hatch. Their eyes settle into their sockets during the first few days after hatch. Natal down is growing from feather germs. The chicks are squirming

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News

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Our work site from above

Nest and cameras work update

Happy Tuesday, everyone! A quick update: we finished work at the North nest, where we replaced two cameras, took old equipment down, and measured the North nest. The outside measurement – farthest stick to farthest stick! – is 12 feet by 8.25 feet. The inside measurement – the part the eagles use – is 6.25 by 6 feet. It’s hard to get a height on this nest, but I’m guessing four feet. It’s a big nest! In Decorah, we cleaned

August 1, 2021: An extreme close-up of DN14's foot.

August 3, 2021: Nestflix and news!

Today marks our first morning without DN13 and DN14. The two eaglets are turning 131 days old and 129 days old respectively. DN13 fledged 53 days ago and DN14 fledged 46 days ago. While Brett’s study found that eaglet average age at dispersal was 162 days (nearly 85 days after they fledged), we know that eaglets start expanding their travels a month or so after fledge. For example, D25 took a trip up to Wabasha in late July of 2016.

July 29, 2021: DN13 and DN14

Did you see the Decorah North Raptor Squad Soaring & Stunt Show?

By Sherri Elliott If you missed the Decorah North Raptor Squad Soaring & Stunt Show, I have video for you! At the 18-Week mark now, the Decorah Delightful Duo will be heading out soon for dispersal from the territory and charting their own courses in limitless skies. Today they treated us to the skills they have mastered gliding, banking, soaring, finding updrafts and downdrafts to showcase rolls, climbs, descents, pursuit chases, and turns to grab each other’s talons for cartwheeling.

July 26, 2021: Chance at Great Spirit Bluff

News and NestFlix from Decorah, GSB, and Decorah North

Whatta week! It is only Tuesday, but we have a full round-up from Decorah, Great Spirit Bluff, and the North Nest. In Decorah, Mom and DM2 have watchers crossing their talons as they make visit after visit to M2, nest N2B, old nest location N1, and the much-loved Y-Branch. We hope that Mom’s recent campouts signal a move back to the hatchery. At Great Spirit Bluff, Chance shows off her lovely plumage, her newly acquired flight skills, and her playful

Fledgling falcon Chance

Mega nestflix and your questions answered at Great Spirit Bluff, Decorah north, and the Flyway!

From Chance’s first few falcon flights through family portraits at Decorah North and extremely cool water birds on the Mississippi Flyway, we have your mega-Nestflix roll – along with information about plumage, juvenile hunting skills, those plants at the North nest, and a really cute duckling. A thousand thanks to our camera operators and videomakers for catching and sharing these special moments with us. I hope you enjoy these videos as much as I did! Great Spirit Bluff July 20,

>> More News
Nest Records
Decorah North Eagles 2021 Nesting Record
Egg-Laying
Egg #1: February 16, 2021 @ 1:44 PM CT
Egg #2: February 19, 2021 @ 1:05 PM CT
Hatching
DN13 hatched @ 7:21 AM CT on March 25, 2021
We saw DN14 for the first time on March 27, 2021 @ 7:21 AM
Fledging
DN13 fledged @ 9:18 AM on June 11, 2021. DN13 fledged at 78 days of age.
DN14 fledged @ 5:02 PM on June 18, 2021. DN14 fledged at 83 days of age.

Eaglets and Outcomes: Detailed Annual Information

YearNest EagletsKnown Outcomes
2021DN4DN13, DN14DN13 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.
2020DN4DN11, DN12DN11 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.
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.

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