Decorah Eagles: Return to the Nest

Decorah Eagles: Return to the Nest

September 23, 2012 at 12:17pm on Decorah Eagles 104,590 followers

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Decorah Eagles

Decorah Eagles

Pets, Animals - Birds

104,590 followers 325,954,512 views

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Additional information:

We will be having a special chat session on Tuesday, December 1, for Giving Tuesday! Chat will be open from 8:00 am - 8:00 pm. Special guests include Neil Rettig, Laura Johnson, John Howe, Amy Ries, and possibly Dave Kester. We will be talking about the building of N2B, the Decorah North Nest, and our plans for next year. We hope to see you there!

Much has transpired with RRP over the summer.

Bob Anderson, director of Raptor Resource Project passed away July 27. Here is more information
Although Bob was very proud of his work with the Decorah Eagles, his heart was truly in his peregrine falcon recovery work. This video tells the story of his cliff work and was a special favorite.

Meet John Howe, the new director of RRP here

The storm-damaged fallen N2 has been “rebuilt” as N2B (N2Bob) to see if Mom & Dad will take over this “starter nest”. More info and photos here

RRP’s plan for another Bald Eagle nest in Decorah with cameras is moving forward. Read more is on the blog

TEACHERS/EDUCATORS, If you have not already done so, please complete this Decorah Eagle Cam Teacher/Educator Questionnaire. Thank you!!

Here is a link to the RRP Forum for Eagles Activities for teachers, parents, grandparents. This is a great place to get and share info. And
Education in Action
thread in the RRP Forum. A place to share about what is happening in your classrooms.

You may contact us at:

Raptor Resource Project thanks all of you who have donated in this difficult time. For those of you who prefer donating via snail mail, our address for Donations:

Raptor Resource Project
P. O. Box 16
Decorah, IA 52101

Decorah Weather Forecast
Click for Decorah, Iowa Forecast

Decorah Eagles nest area with approximate nest locations

A look at N2B and environs.

For additional news and updates, see the links below:
Facebook (you don't need an account). This is the most up to date source for news when chat is not online:
Our blog:
Check out the links to cams of many of the raptor nests that RRP manages.
RRP has a Facebook page where we post updates.
Visit our forum to talk about birds.
Visit our merchandising page if you are interested in purchasing eaglecam merchandise.


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.

The Mods are appreciative of all who visit this cam and this chat. However, we cannot each say hello and/or good-bye to each and every person. Please know that we celebrate you being here. And that we do see you!!

Moderators will enforce the following guidelines.

1. Be respectful and polite. No profanity, personal invective or other inappropriate comments. Keep your language G rated and appropriate for family usage.
2. While we are all one Eagle Family and celebrate and mourn with the other eagle nests/cams, as one of the busiest chat rooms and to avoid confusion we must keep the discussion focused on the Decorah nest.
3. No comments touching on politics, religion, or sports. Respect the diversity of the room.
4. Limit personal information, either asked or given and use common sense regarding what you share in Private messages.
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, smile-y faces, or random characters. Do not post in all caps; it's like YELLING. Do not invite roll calls of any type.
7. While viewers come from all over the world use English only to communicate most effectively with other chatters.

PLEASE NOTE: Verifiable Private Messages (PMs) that are insulting, offensive or rude may result is being banned from the chatroom. If you are receiving such PMs contact a mod for instructions before you delete them.

Moderators have volunteered their time to make chat a family friendly place to watch the Decorah eagles nest with the added bonus of learning about eagles. While Mods spend time learning about the eagles, particularly these eagles, we are not avian/raptor experts. We try to answer questions with the knowledge and information we know. The limits of chat prevent us from posting sources for much of our information but the RRP Forum has the Mod Education Threads that are full of detailed info and many sources are cited there. Moderators are here to make sure all viewers have a good experience.

Visit the Ustream Chat Mods boards on the RRP Forum.
Ustream Mods Want You To Know - Education
Ustream Mods Want You To Know - Entertainment

Moderators are: bellenurse1, bustopbird, EagleFanDave, FaithHopeCure, gardengirl1, glogdog, hummingbird2011, izzysamlikeseagles, JanBosworth, jfrancl, lshirely, oregonian1944, Pagent, pyrmum1, rivian21, thinkingwoman, tulsaducati. 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.

2015 Egg/Hatch/Fledge Dates
D21: Egg 2/18/15 6:07 PM – Hatch 3/27/15 6:62 PM (37 days) - Fledge 6/14/15 1:11 PM (79 days)
D21: Two views of fledge Here!! And a ground view of the fledge Here!!!
D22: Egg 2/21/15 7:01 PM – Hatch 3/29/15 8:16 AM (36 Days) – Fledge 6/17/15 (80 days)
D22: Video of egg laying.
D23: Egg 2/25/15 6:57 PM – Hatch 4/2/15 9:43 AM (36 days) – Fledge 6/19/15 (78 days)
D23: See the actual hatch up close.

2014 Egg/Hatch/Fledge Dates
D18: 2/23/14 4:55 PM – Hatch 4/2/14 9:22 AM (38 days) – Fledge 6/18/14 (77 days) Electrocuted 7/8/14 Male
D19 (Four): 2/26/14 5:33 PM – Hatch 4/3/14 11:29 PM (36 days) – Fledge 6/18/14 (76 days) Female fitted with transmitter Electrocuted 3/2/15 -- Details can be found in this RRP Blog.
D20 (Soar): 3/2/14 6:43 PM – Hatch 4/7/14 10:42 AM (36 days) – Fledge 6/20/14 (74 days) Rescued w/broken wing 6/22/14 Male – non-releasable will become education eagle. As of 12/12 this eaglet is now an educational eagle (in training) by Kay Neumann and will be called "DECORAH". He has a permanent home at S.O.A.R.

2013 Observations
With the unanticipated move to a new nest (N2) without cams we only had observations to go on.
First observed brooding on 2/17/13, first observed feeding on 3/29, first visual confirmation of 3 eaglets was 4/5. So we know D15 hatched by or before 3/29, and all 3 were hatched by 4/5.
Fledge dates: D15: 6/23/14, D16 6/17/13, D17 6/26/13

2012 Egg/Hatch/Fledge Dates
D12: Egg 2/17/12 7:47 PM – Hatch3/27/12 1:16 PM (39 days) – Fledge 6/13/12 (78 days) – Electrocuted 7/1/12 Male
D13: Egg 2/20/12 9:04 PM – Hatch 3/28/12 9:35 AM (37 days) -Fledge 6/14/12 (78 days)
D14: Egg 2/24/12 8:05 PM – Hatch 3/30/12 6:50 AM (35 days) – Fledge 6/18/12 (80 days) – Found electrocuted 11/26/12 Male fitted with transmitter

2011 Egg/Hatch/Fledge Dates
E1: Egg 2/23/11 5:33 PM - Hatch 4/2/11 2:39 AM (38 days)– Fledge 6/18/11 (77 days)
E2 (D1): Egg 2/26/11 6:42 PM – Hatch 4/3/11 7:02 AM (36 days) – Fledge 6/23/11 (81 days) Female fitted with transmitter
E3: Egg 3/2/11 6:47 PM – Hatch 4/6/11 6:48 AM (35 days) – Fledge 6/20/11 (75 days)


This is not intended to be an absolutely complete list, please remember to use common sense—these are wild raptors with a natural fear of humans, let’s keep them that way!!
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, Federal law in the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act and the Migratory Bird Protection Treaty protects bald eagles.

1. Respect the landowners. Don't trespass or intrude on them in any way. Heed all No Trespassing signs.
2. Federal law requires you to stay at least 330 feet away from any nest. This distance is also true for individual eagles that may be perched on a tree or standing on the ground.
3. Use your car or a tree as a blind putting it between you and the eagles. They are less sensitive to those objects than a free-standing or moving human.
4. If an eagle stops what it is doing to watch you, you are disturbing the eagle—move on!
5. Be as quiet as possible. Don't honk, rev your engine, play loud music, shout or make any other loud noises.
6. 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.
7. Do not feed the eagles in any way. This includes leaving food on the ground. These birds are wild and should not become dependent on humans.
8. If an eagle is on the ground, do not approach it. When it flies off, do not attempt to follow it.
9. It is illegal to possess any part of a Bald Eagle; this includes any feathers you may find. If you see a feather—leave it alone.
10. Be aware of your surroundings. If an eagle is near a road, check for traffic before moving. Your safety is important.
11. Binoculars and/or cameras will afford you the best view while visiting a nest.
12. Demonstrate eagle friendly actions by your own behavior. Be courteous to both other eagle observers and wildlife.
13. Keep the area free from litter. Pick up after yourself and take your trash with you.
14. Enjoy your visit to Decorah or to wherever you might go to view these magnificent raptors!!
Thanks to the UStream Decorah Eagles Chat Room Moderators for these guidelines

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:
S.O.A.R's non-toxic tackle page.
MN PCA's non-toxic tackle page.

The following websites provide good information about bald eagles:
Animal Diversity Web
Cornell Lab of Ornithology

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.

RRP's youtube channel can be found here. Several active fans have captured videos from this cam from past years, including:
Elfruler’s world
raptorfan81’s channel
bigrediggy’s channel
989razzle’s channel
70chico1's channel
Eaglewhisperer18's Videos
Mochamamma's videos
dragonlainey's videos
Blossem Holland’s videos
Robin Brumm’s videos
SLP's 2013 Chronological Photographs.
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.

The Eagles' Nests
Mom and Dad have built three nests on the property, and we built one. N0 or the first nest, built sometime before 2006, was built by Dad and his original mate, OM. The location can be seen in the map above. N1 or the second nest, built largely or entirely by Dad and his current mate Mom, was started in late 2006. Mom and Dad left N1 in 2012 and started working on N2, about 500 feet away from N1. In July of 2015, N2 was destroyed in a storm. Neil Rettig came up with the idea of building a nest not far from N2's old location to see if the eagles would adopt it. Bob was thrilled by the idea, but passed away before it began. We named it N2B in Bob's honor.

How high is N2B? The bottom limbs are 70 feet off the ground.
How big is the nest? It was roughly 5 feet wide by 4.5 to 5 feet high when we stopped building.
How old is N2B? This is its first year.

How high was N2? About 60 feet in a cottonwood.
How big was N2? When the cameras were installed in 2013, N2 was about 4 feet across, 3.5 feet deep, approximately 460 pounds, and will gain approx 200 lbs every year.
How old was N2? The eagles started building it in Oct. 2012. It was ready for the 2013 nesting season.

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.

What is the area around the nests 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.

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 is a bigreddiggy video about the differences: Telling the difference between Mom and Dad.

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, 3 in 2013, 3 in 2014 and 3 in 2015.

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

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 2016, the eaglets will begin with D24. 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.