Decorah Eagles – Everything You Need to Know – Three Eggs!!

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What is all the buzz about the Decorah Eagles?

There is a live web cam focused on the nest of a family of bald eagles.  It’s fascinating to watch – a true reality show!  I watched (and hundreds of thousands of other people) last year as the eggs hatched and the baby eaglets grew.  Eventually we saw them grow strong enough to leave the nest.

Why are they called Decorah Eagles?  Is that a species?

They are called the Decorah Eagles because they live in Decorah, Iowa.  The people that set up and take care of the cameras, Raptor Resource Project (RRP), steadfastly refuse to name the eagles, maintaining their status as wild animals, not pets.

What is the nest like?

The nest is high in a tree, about 80 feet off the ground.  Wow, that means they live on the “8th floor”!  The nest has been there since 2007 and it is approx. 6 ft across and 4 ft. deep.  Guess how much it weighs?  Approximately 1,000 pounds.  Okay, saying “wow” again.  Here’s a picture of some people near the nest to give you some size perspective.  Yes, you can say, “wow” too!

During installation of the NestCam

The camera that let’s us watch these beautiful creatures, well, there are actually two, are on another branch of the tree about 4 or 5 feet above the nest.

Wow, that's high.

How many eaglets have there been?

Glad you asked!  Last year there were three eaglets (and they were adorable!!).  Two eaglets in 2008, then three in 2009, and three more in 2010.  But those have “flown the coop”, so to speak.  Eagles live up to 30 years in the wild, so there are many, many years of eaglets to come!

How many eggs are there this year?

So far this year, there are three eggs – the last one was laid on 2/24/2012.  It’s unusual for an eagle to have three eggs, but this family has a history of three.  The RRP blog gave these statistics:

The breakdown among bald eagles in general is as follows:

  • 79% of clutches have two eggs
  • 17% of clutches have one egg
  • 4% of clutches have three eggs

How do you tell the male from the female?

Dad is actually smaller than Mom and has brighter white feathers.  He also has “guy-liner” or black around his eyes.  To see more about how to tell Dad from Mom, check out this You-Tube video that has a side-by-side comparison of the two.  Dad met Mom in winter 2007, when Mom was four years old.  Bald eagles mate for life.  But if death, do-them-part, they will find a new mate.

What do the eaglets look like?

Last Year’s Eaglets – E1,E2,and E3

The Eaglets were called E1, E2, and E3.  They are fluffy little creatures that tend to sleep and eat a lot.  And look cute a lot.

They were born April 1st, 3rd and 6th.  Eaglets grow quickly, adding almost a pound every four or five days.  By three weeks old, they are 1 foot high and their feet and beaks are very nearly adult size.  Between four and five weeks, the eaglets are able to stand and start tearing up their own food.  At six weeks, they are almost as large as their parents.

When will the eggs hatch?

Last year, an egg was laid on 2/23/11 and hatched on 4/2/11.  The first egg laid this year was on 2/17/12, so hopefully hatching will be the last week of March!

The three 2012 Decorah Eagle eggs!

More details coming about the eggs – how big they are, why the mom turns the eggs, how long they can be left uncovered…  stay tuned!

There’s also a “chat” on the webcam site so eagle-watchers can compare notes.  But be warned – this is very addicting *happy smile*.  Click here and watch with me!


  1. 1

    My son and I watched them for weeks last year! Fantastic experience (even if it is just on the internet for us)

  2. 2

    How beautiful! This is a chance to have a nest of eagles near home and observable!

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