Is that an eagle or a snowman?

Is that an eagle or a snowman?

July 2, 2012 at 4:37pm on Decorah Eagles 90,506 followers

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Decorah Eagles

Decorah Eagles

Pets, Animals - Birds

90,506 followers 305,317,143 views
The Decorah Eagle cam will close for the season on Tuesday, September 2nd at 7 PM CDT. Until then, you can expect flash chats often.

Message from Bob regarding Charlie Foreman, June 30
Charlie Forman passed away night before last. Charlie was a most unique and wonderful person and it’s with great difficulty that I sit down to post this announcement. Charlie put in countless hours manning the controls of the ptz cameras often in very cold working conditions. He also helped me wire cameras and microphones and run electronic tests each year to switch out at the Decorah Eagle nest. He was always calm and wonderful to work with, and he took great joy in bringing the Decorah eagles to the world.

Charlie's wife Jolyn worked at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. Often Joni and Charlie would be in phone contact during his camera operating. The two of them brought the live feed from the Decorah Eagle Cam to many people at this most famous hospital allowing patients to have Charlie direct the camera at what they wanted to view.

I can’t stop tearing up. We will miss our friend.

From SOAR Wednesday 3:15 PM
We've decided to delay surgery until Friday or Saturday to give the eaglet more time to strengthen up. His wing is wrapped and he is currently being treated with a strong antibiotic. An inspection of the eaglet's tail revealed a maggot infestation, most likely from a wound, which we treated with permethrin per Dr. Dirk's instruction. Permethrin is also used to help kill hippoboscid fly and mite infestations, and lice infestations. Used properly, it's a safe and effective product that degrades quickly. We hand-fed him venison yesterday and he pooped well an hour afterwards. While we don't usually cheer at the site of poop, this was wonderful to see

Amy Ries, at Raptor Resource Project, has been compiling fan questions, so we would like to address a couple here:

Q: Is the Juvenile Eagle receiving pain medications?

A: No, not at this time. Unlike mammals, pain medications are metabolized quickly by birds and they receive no long lasting pain relief. They do experience the side effects of these medications, like slower heart rate breathing, and that may not necessarily be a good thing at this point. Also, he/she is not showing any signs of being in pain (they will vocalize sometimes if you touch a painful spot , and this has not been seen)

Q: Will the Juvenile Eagle imprint on people and become un-releasable?

A: No, this eagle is past the imprinting stage and associates nothing it needs with humans. There are other eagles at SOAR that it will spend time with when ready, post surgery

Thank you for your patience in waiting for the updates, and as always, thank you to those who have donated to SOAR! All donations are greatly needed and appreciated.

Also, Thank you to Raptor Resource Project for the collaborative effort in helping this eagle!

From RRP Wednesday, 10:25 AM
We've confirmed a fledgling eagle without a transmitter a little over one mile from the nest.

While we can't know for sure, we are quite hopeful that this is our missing eaglet, especially when we compare the data with D14, who was tracked in almost the same location on 6/27/12.

We'll be watching to see if the eaglet comes back to N2, appears in N1, or is seen over at the fish hatchery. In the meantime, please stay back and give the eaglet plenty of room if you see it on the ground. Bob reported that the eagle was flying very proficiently this morning.

The NWZ just got a little larger! Thanks to Frank Ermel for the tip and photo.

We aren't trying to ID this eaglet at all right now - we've got our hands full just keeping track of everything that's going on. We hope to have an ID post for everyone later today or sometime tomorrow.

All times are listed as Central Daylight Time.

Beginning Wednesday, June 25th, we will have chat 2 hours in the morning from 8 AM to 10 AM, 2 hours at lunchtime from 1 PM to 3 PM, and 2 hours in the evening from 6 PM until 8 PM daily. Of course we will have flash chats on an as needed basis.

Chat will end for the season on Sunday, July 13th.

Monday, June 23rd
9:45 AM RRP In past years, we've seen pretty easy fledges. This year, Decorah got 4.89 inches of rain between June 14 and June 20, most of which seemed to come the day following D18 and D19's fledge. While insect bites could also have played a role, we believe the extreme weather was even more disruptive. SOAR has mentioned taking in a sudden influx of patients following the storm and I'm reaching out to a few other people I know in the rehab/observer community to see what they are experiencing. The storm seriously impaired early fledge and Mom and Dad's efforts to find the fledglings.

"What's going on in Decorah?" we're getting asked. Some answers.

Yesterday, Bob received a call from the Decorah police that an eaglet was down on Trout Run Road. When he arrived, the eaglet responded by scrambling instead of flying. Concerned that it wasn't flying, Bob captured the eaglet and held it overnight in his mews for a health assessment. It ate a full three quail prior to release, indicating that its primary problem might have been hunger-related weakness. After watching the eaglet flap in the mews this morning, Bob concluded that it was not only healthy, it was strong enough for a transmitter. The transmittered eagle who is D20 was released around 10:30am this morning. It was able to fly to some bricks about 3-1/2 feet off the ground, where it stayed until Dad came to feed it this afternoon. Bob has spent most of the day at the hatchery observing the eagles and talking with visitors.

While at the hatchery releasing the first eaglet, Bob got word that an eaglet was downed on an island in the stream near the horse barn. He waded through the stream and was able to capture the eaglet, which had a broken wing. Fortunately, a SOAR volunteer was on hand. SOAR, or Saving Our Avian Resources, is an Iowa nonprofit dedicated to saving Iowa's avian resources through raptor rehabilitation, education, and research. We have transferred lead-poisoned and injured birds to them for the past couple of years. We are currently waiting for a report from Kay on the second eaglet.

We've had a lot of questions about whether or not gnats influenced an early fledge. While the fledge wasn't all that much earlier than it was in other years, there is no doubt the gnats were bad. Still, we think the terrible weather might have played a role in post-fledging events, given that there was an all-day rain and severe flooding along Trout Creek following the fledge of D18 and D19.
A few dates:


Egg #1: Laid 02/23/2014 @ 4:55pm
Egg #2: Laid 02/26/2014 @ 5:33 pm
Egg #3: Laid 03/02/2014 @ 6:43pm

D18 Hatch: 04/02/14 @ 9:22am CDT
D19 Hatch: 04/03/14 @ 11:29pm CDT
D20 Hatch: 04/07/14 @ 10:42am CDT

D18 Fledge: 6/18/14 @ 3:41PM
D19 Fledge: 6/18/14 @ 8:16 PM
D20 Fledge: 6/20/14 @ 1:27 PM

Historical fledges

E1: 77 days old at fledge
E2(D1): 81 days old at fledge
E3: 75 days old at fledge
Average: 77 days old at fledge

In 2012
D12: 78 days old at fledge
D13: 78 days old at fledge
D14: 78 days old at fledge
Average: 78 days old at fledge

In 2013
Incomplete data - remote footage only
closest guess for D16: 74-77 days old at fledge

Sunday afternoon update June 22. Dad just fed the eaglet Bob released earlier today. Great news!

Sunday, noon CDT, June 22 Bob deemed eagle #1 to be in good health. He released it late this morning at the hatchery. He is asking people to stay away and not crowd it.
Another eaglet was found this morning near the horse barn with a broken wing. It is on its way to Kay Neumann's rehab facility. The eaglet is not identified.

As we have additional information, we will update. We will let you know as soon as we can.

Saturday afternoon, June 21 Bob got a call from the police that an eagle was down on Trout Run Road. He headed over immediately. The eagle was in the road and people were directing traffic around it. He went to pick it up and it scrambled into the woods, giving Bob quite a chase, although he finally caught it. He was concerned that the eagle ran instead of flying to escape, so he is holding it overnight in his mews for observation.

June 20th D20 fledged at 1:37 PM CDT. Lift off was just as sure and strong as both 18 and 19's. D20's fledge.

The camera will continue 24/7 for the next little while with chat running from 8 AM to 8 PM CDT

D19 decided to join its sibling on the evening of June 18th - maybe not so surprising, since the two hatched just a day apart. A fledge video:

If D18 and D19 don't come back right away, Mom and Dad will split their time between D20 in the nest and the other two on the ground and various trees. D20 hatched four days after D19, so it may be a little bit before he or she fledges. The next few days should be exciting ones for our little DDD's. We'll be looking for them in N2 and N1, where our eaglets spent a lot of post-fledge time last year. We know a lot of people are visiting Decorah this weekend, so if you see the eaglets on the ground, please stay back. To quote Sherri Elliott, "Whatta Day!"

At 3:41PM CDT on Wednesday, June 18th, D18 became the first Decorah eagle to fledge this year. Bob confirmed the fledge with a panning session around the tree and a visual check of the area.

We don't yet know where D18 ended up, but not to worry - grounding is part of fledge and Mom and Dad will know where D18 is even if human viewers don't. We look forward to seeing you, D18!

We know there are a lot of people in Decorah right now. If you see D18 on the ground, please stay back. Thank you!

RRP confirmed hatch at 10:42 AM CDT Monday, April 7, 2014

RRP confirmed hatch at 11:29 PM Thursday, April 3, 2014

D18 HAS ARRIVED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
RRP confirmed hatch at 9:22 AM Wednesday, April 2, 2014

EGG 3!
Third egg is here on Sunday, March 2nd at 6:43 PM Videos below.

EGG 2!
The second egg arrived Wednesday, Feb. 26th, at 5:33 PM Videos are further down in the Egg Record section.

Decorah's first egg of 2014 arrived on Sunday, Feb. 23rd at 4:55 PM CST Elf's video of 1st egg
Videos are also posted on RRP's FaceBook page. RRP FaceBook

January 19, 2014 The News You've Been Waiting For
Beginning Monday, February 17, 2014, we will move to our full day schedule of 8 AM – 8 PM,  7 days a week.

December 16, 2013
RRP has announced lodging information for the RRP ATF 2014 event. We have made arrangements with Luther College and have provided information regarding other possible lodging choices.Luther College Housing Arrangements
We will continue to provide breaking news briefs here with the details provided on RRP's Forum. You do not need to be a Forum member to read there.

December 4, 2013
Save the date! July 19/20, 2014.
The first ever RRP sponsored event in Decorah -- RRP After the Fledge 2014. Watch this space for details as they are confirmed.

October 28, 2013
The Ustream Chat Mods were busy on RRP Forum. They have their own boards now!
Ustream Mods Want You To Know - Education

Ustream Mods Want You To Know - Entertainment

Decorah Weather Forecast
Click for Decorah, Iowa Forecast

April 17, 2013: Nest Etiquette
For those of you visiting nests, here is a Nest Etiquette compendium. This is not intended to be an absolutely complete listing. Bald eagles can be very sensitive to human behavior, and what may seem innocuous to a human may disturb an eagle; humans are still the biggest threat to eagles. Remember, bald eagles are protected by Federal law in the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Protection Treaty.

1. Respect the landowners. Don't trespass or intrude on them in any way. If there are No Trespassing signs, heed them.
2. Federal law requires you to stay at least 330 feet away from any nest. This distance is also true for individual eagles who may be perched on a tree or standing on the ground.
3. Be as quiet as possible. Don't honk, play loud music, shout or make any other loud noises.
4. If you see an eagle, consider yourself lucky. Don't do anything that might stress the bird. They will see you. Move slowly and carefully and keep your gestures restrained.
5. Do not feed the eagles in any way. This includes leaving food on the ground. These birds are wild animals and should not become dependent on humans.
6. Keep the area free from litter. Pick up after yourself and take your trash with you.
7. If an eagle is on the ground, do not approach it. Also, when it flies away, do not attempt to follow it.
8. Stay aware of your surroundings. If the eagle is near a road, check for traffic before moving. Your safety is important.
9. Take your binoculars and/or camera with you whenever visiting a nest. That equipment will afford you the best view.
10. If others are watching with you, demonstrate eagle friendly actions by your own behavior. Be courteous to both the humans and wildlife.

With special thanks to Elfruler, Iverburl, Pagent, and RRP for suggestions.

For additional news and updates, see the links below:

Here are a couple of specific articles about the eagles:

RRP Moderated Chat is a structured environment to learn about eagles, particularly the Decorah nest, in a family friendly setting. Moderators (Mods) participate in discussions during the hours chat is open.

Chatting is a privilege not a right. Moderators will actively enforce the following rules.

1. Be respectful and polite. Keep your discussions focused on the Decorah nest.

2. No profanity, personal invective, or other inappropriate comments. Keep your language G rated and appropriate for family usage.

3. No comments touching on politics, religion, or sports. Respect the diversity of the room.

4. Limit personal information, either asked or given. Age, gender, location, and other such details are unnecessary or even may be inadvisable.

5. Be thoughtful in your choice of words when you post. What you intended to say may not come through clearly to others. In reading posts, give the poster the benefit of the doubt in what they were trying to convey. Disagreements might be unavoidable but should remain polite, and they should never become arguments.

6. Do not post strings of several emoticons, smileys, or random characters. Do not post in all caps; it's like YELLING. If you are visually impaired, please let a Moderator know. Moderators can be recognized as their posts appear in all blue.

7. While viewers come from all over the world, use English only to communicate most effectively with other chatters.

Moderators have volunteered their time and knowledge to make chat a family friendly place to watch the Decorah eagles nest with the added bonus of learning about eagles. Mods deserve your respect. Moderators are here to make sure all viewers have a good experience.

Moderators are: bellenurse1, Bob1603, BremerBirdFan, FaithHopeCure, gardengirl1, glogdog, hummingbird2011, izzysamlikeseagles, jfrancl, JoyC32, lgb1126, oregonian1944, Pagent, thinkingwoman, TX_Ninja

Moderators can timeout, kick, or permanently ban chat abusers and will delete inappropriate posts. If your presence is disruptive, mods will remove you from chat. Allow mods to deal with chat abusers. Do not engage them yourself.

Enjoy this chat about the Decorah Eagles.

Three great, dedicated videographers have their captures.
1st egg laid Feb.23 at 4:55 PM
Elf's video of 1st egg
priscillash's video of 1st egg
mochamomma's vid of dad's first peek at egg

2nd egg laid Feb. 26 at 5:33 PM
Elf's video of egg laying
mochamomma's vid of first peek at egg

3rd Egg Mar 2nd at 6:43 PM
Elf's video of 3rd egg
eaglewhisperer's video of 3rd egg
D20's arrival

Since nobody but Mom and Dad know for sure when the first egg was laid or the first egg hatched, and they don't have a clock, a calendar, or a way to convey the info to us, we have to go by the first observation.  
1st observed brooding on 2/19
1st observed feeding on 3/29.
1st visual confirmation of 3 eaglets was 4/5.
At least we know D15 hatched before or by 3/29, and all 3 were hatched by 4/5.

EGG! We have EGG! at 7:47 PM CST Feb 17th. Thanks to elf we also have video.
2012 First Egg Feb 17th
Hatching 3-27-12 D12 Arrives!
Branching June 9th 5:38 AM CDT D12 Branches!

Second egg arrived Feb 20th at 9:06 PM CST. Video of the process.
2012 Second Egg Feb 20th
Hatching 3-28-12 D13's Process

Third egg arrived Feb 24th at 8:05 PM CST
Video of third egg!
Hatching 3-31-12 Emergence of D14!

We encourage people to use non-toxic alternatives to lead shot and tackle. We sent several eagles to S.O.A.R last year with lead poisoning. Wildlife face a lot of dangers we can't do anything about, but this one we can! For information about lead-free fishing, check out:


The following websites provide good information about bald eagles:


Established in 1988, the non-profit Raptor Resource Project specializes in the preservation of falcons, eagles, ospreys, hawks, and owls. We establish and strengthen breeding populations of these raptors by creating, improving, and maintaining nests and nest sites. In addition to directly managing over 40 falcon, eagle, and owl nest sites, we provide training in nest site creation and management across the United States, reach more than 85,000 people each year through lectures, education programs, and our website, and develop innovations in nest site management and viewing that bring people closer to the world around them. Our mission is to preserve and strengthen raptor populations, to expand participation in raptor preservation, and to help foster the next generation of preservationists. Our work deepens the connection between people and the natural world, bringing benefits to both.


For 2013, we are fortunate to have Jim's video's. Here's the link to RRP's Youtube channel, Jim's 2013 playlist and Jim's late season 2013 playlist
We are also honored to present a whole series of stills from this year. SLP's 2013 Chronological Photograph's

Several active fans have captured videos from this cam from past years, including:

The Decorah eagle nest was featured in a PBS Nature series program, “American Eagle,” that premiered in November 2008. Filmed by cinematographers Robert Anderson and Neil Rettig in high-definition, the video is available on DVD and online.


    Now that mom and dad have two nests, we will need to differentiate between them. The nest mom and dad used from 2007 through 2012 will be called N1, formerly known as The Nest. The nest mom and dad built for the 2013 nesting season will be called N2, formerly know as Yonder Nest.
    Here is a handy map for you to see the nests and the surrounding area. Neighborhood Map.

    Here's some basics about N2 which is 500 feet to the right of N1 when standing at the Hatchery.
  • How high is the nest? About 60 feet in a cottonwood.

  • How big is the nest? When the cameras were installed, N2 was about 4 feet across, 3.5 feet deep, approximately 460 pounds, and will gain approx 200 lbs every year

  • How old is N2? The eagles started building it in Oct. 2012. It was ready for the 2013 nesting season.

  • The following information is provided about N1.
  • How high is N1? About 80 feet.

  • How big is N1? About 6 feet across, about 5 feet deep; it weighs close to 1367 lb.

  • How old is N1? The eagles built it in 2007 and used it to successfully fledge 14 eaglets. A previous nest close by fell when a windstorm broke one of the branches.

  • Which is the male and which is the female? It is hard to tell the difference unless they are both on the nest. The female is larger than the male. This female has an arched ridge above her eyes that goes further back than on the male, and her eyes are surrounded by a greyish shadow; the ridge above the male’s eye is shorter and seems a little closer to the eye. The male has a line around his eyes that makes them look “beady,” and his head looks “sleeker” than the female’s.
    Here's a bigreddiggy video about the differences. mom and dad differences

  • What is the history of this male and female?
    They have been together since the winter of 2007-2008. The female's markings at that time indicated that she was about 4 years old. The male was already mature in 2007. There is no way to know his age.

    Once an eagle reaches maturity at 5 years of age, there is no way to determine their age if they have not been tracked prior to turning 5. Here's a link to the feather changes that occur in an eagle's first years before they mature. Plumage Changes in Sub-Adults

    They successfully hatched and fledged 2 eaglets in 2008, 3 in 2009, 3 in 2010, 3 in 2011, 3 in 2012, and 3 in 2013. .

  • How did they capture D1?
    Here's a link to how it happened. The Capture of D1
    The transmitter has allowed us to see where she has been and where she is currently D1's Map

  • What is the area around N2 and N1 like? The Nests are in cottonwood trees on private property near the Decorah Fish Hatchery (operated by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources), on the banks of the babbling waters of Trout Run in extreme northeast Iowa. N1 can be seen from the hatchery, but visitors to the hatchery should keep their distance from the nest tree, both to respect the private property where the tree is located and to avoid disturbing the eagles. Here is a ground-level video of the surroundings, taken in March 2010. This video shows the eagles’ point of view.
    Here is a slide show of the cam installation in fall 2009.

    Why are the eaglets called D##?
    The first place is D for the Decorah, Iowa, nest site. Numbers following the D acknowledge the number of eaglets since 2008. For the 2014, the eaglets will begin with D18.

    Traditional names can create an undue tendency to anthropomorphize. While the human emotion that may be attached to the eaglets is understandable, an alpha-numeric system for referencing them may help us distance ourselves to observe the wonder of wildlife and nature at work.

    This reference system will allow RRP to integrate their findings more easily with other researchers.