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Manic Monday: World Famous Decorah Eagles

The Decorah Eagles in their nest.

The Decorah eagles are part of the Raptor Resource Project in Decorah, Iowa. The group set up a cam over the nest to watch a pair of bald eagles in 2009, and in 2011, began streaming live on UStream. Over 200,000 million people in 184 countries watched the eagles build a nest, lay eggs, fight off a noisy and persistent owl, and raise their babies. Those following got to watch the babies hatch and grow from gray fluff balls to young predators.

The first gray fluff ball, known as "D1." She has a transmitter attached, and the Raptor Resource Project is tracking her as a juvenile adult.

My husband has always loved eagles, but to be honest, I was kind of “meh” about them. They just didn’t interest me, and I think that’s because growing up, I rarely saw them as they were endangered and fighting to make a comeback. My interest didn’t really start until 2004, when I was in my car and one did a drive-by of my windshield. I almost wrecked, but I was mesmerized by the sheer size and beauty.

Mom and Dad with the first hatchlings in 2011.

Now, we see eagles quite often – in fact, I saw two hunting when I drove back from my parents after the great kitty rescue of 2012. But nothing is like watching these eagles in their nest. For all of their grace and beauty, they are equally fascinating as mates and parents. They mate for life and work in tandem to raise the babies. Once the first egg is laid, the young are never alone as mom and dad take turns keeping them safe and warm. It’s hard for me to tell the two apart unless they’re together; mom is significantly bigger and has some beautiful iridescent feathers on her back. One of the coolest parts of the live webcam is being able to watch nature as it unfolds. Last year, millions witnessed the hatchlings enter the world, crashing the server twice. And then we got to see the babies grow from light gray fluff balls to bigger, darker fluff balls, and finally to juveniles that left the nest. Children in classrooms across the country got to see the eagles, spawning a whole new generation of love and understanding of this beautiful creature.

Mom (or Dad?) with one of the eaglets last April.

Now, thanks to a solar powered transmitter, the Raptor Resource Project has been able to follow D1, and her fans are grateful to know the eagle is safe and well. She spent nearly two-months in northwest Wisconsin, going as far north as Lake Superior, before heading home. On February 18th, she was sighted in Arlington, Iowa, about fifty miles south of her parents nest.

All grown up: D1 in October in Yellow Lake, Wisconsin.

After months of waiting, Mom and Dad are back in their nest and beginning a new brood. Two days ago, the first egg was laid and witnessed by millions. The second should arrive soon. When you have a chance, stop by the live feed and witness the birds in action. Right now, dad is on the nest enjoying the mild morning.

What do you think of the Decorah Eagles? Did you watch them last spring?


24 comments on… “Manic Monday: World Famous Decorah Eagles”

  1. So sweet! We had a next of birds outside my daughter’s playroom window last Spring. I loved watching them grow. I was so sad when they flew away.

  2. Aren’t they? We have a nest on our front porch that’s been here since we moved. Every year a pair of Mourning Doves comes back to it. We love watching them.


    • They are. And it’s amazing to watch how caring they are, because we – or at least, I – don’t think of them as nurturing. You’re welcome, and thanks for stopping by!

  3. How fascinating! We have a red-tailed hawk that lives in our community, and I’m amazed by that predatory bird. These creatures are beautiful and awe-inspiring.

    • I love hawks, too. We actually have a lot of them around here. I always see at least three on the way down to mom and dad’s. And Grace and I saved a baby one a couple of years ago. He was just sitting on the manhole cover on the street, and I stopped, picked him up. He sat there for a second and flew away. They are fascinating, too.


  4. They’re beautiful! Can’t recall who introduced me to them last year, but I think this webcam is very cool. Thanks for reminding me, and providing the link, Stacy.

    • You’re very welcome. I’m nervous about watching because I’m paranoid about getting attached and something bad happening, but they are too awesome to ignore.


  5. How incredible. I had no idea about the live feed and will definitely check it out. Hubby and I are huge eagle fans. We have a lot of nests on powerlines all over our province and we often see them up in the trees along many of the rivers we canoe. They are mesmerizing and gorgeous.
    Thanks so much for sharing and providing the leak. Hubby and I will check it out tonight. He’s going to be pumped. woot woot!

    • Definitely. It can be boring at times, but the night seems to be more active, especially once the babies arrive. And it’s very cool to see them fly in and out of the nest. The mothers are huge. I’ve never seen a nest up close, but I’m hoping to go down by the river near my parents next weekend and look.

      You’re very welcome. Hope you enjoy!

  6. Wow, beautiful birds.
    I had not been aware of the live feed, but will have to check it out. I was privileged, however, to see California Condors in flight many years ago at the LA Zoo, part of the conservation project (down to 22 living birds!) and more recently at the Grand Canyon, where they have been released back into the wild (390 living at end of 2011; 210 in the wild). The flight and behavior of wild birds is amazing; they have so much to teach us if we slow and pay attention.

    • The live feed is definitely worth checking out.

      And that is very cool – I can’t believe they were down that low. How awful, but what an amazing comeback. I have a feeling tigers will be there soon. And yes, I agree. They are far more intelligent than people realize. Thanks!

  7. The eagles are beautiful. I love the pictures. In fact, I can’t stop looking at them. Stacy you are so lucky to live near them. Thank you for sharing this treasure.

    • You’re welcome. You should check out the live feed. They’re so fun to watch. And yes, we are lucky. I don’t see them all the time, but I’m seeing them more and more. We’re planning to go down by the river near my parents and search for some this weekend. Thanks!

  8. I watched the live feed last year. It was great! I shared it daily with my class and the kids loved learning about the eagles. Thanks for putting up the link.

    • I think it’s great that teachers are able to share with the kids and really instill in them early how important these birds are. Grace loves watching them, too. And you’re welcome. Thanks for commenting!

  9. I love this! Isn’t it great how your attitude towards the birds changed? I think it’s so important for people to be exposed to nature as much as possible. It’s so transformative.

    My sister-in-law keeps tabs on an eagle’s nest by her house and gives us all updates throughout each season. This year, and ice storm destroyed their nest and they are still rebuilding.

    Found your blog via the #row80 hashtage on Twitter, in case you wonder who the heck I am! Nice to meet you. 🙂


    • Thanks so much. Yes, I’m so glad I realized what amazing creatures they are. Oh my goodness, the poor eagles near your sister’s house. I hope they’ve rebuilt the nest enough to use it. But how cool she can keep tabs on it.

      And yay! Nice to meet you, too!

  10. I am just now getting to comment on this (sorry). It is so neat. We have eagles in Texas, but I’ve only seen them a handful of times. Buzzards are far more common. LOL I think birds in general are really majestic and neat. They’re so graceful and beautiful and mysterious. Thanks for posting this. I had no idea the live feed existed. 😀

    • That’s okay. She laid her second egg Monday night. We’re seeing them more and more. I love to see them flying – they’re huge. We have buzzards, too. Annoying shits. You’re welcome. Enjoy the live feed!

  11. I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve never heard of the Decorah Eagle, but I do love seeing eagles fly around and sour with their massive wing spans. Birds are amazing creatures…as long as they don’t poop on my head. 🙂

    • It’s all right. They really came to light just last year. Yes, they are. Even tho it’s sad, it’s awesome that eagles can carry off such large animals, and they’re stellar hunters. Glad you liked the post:)

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