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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Eagles Due in the Spring!

Mom and Dad mate 2-3-12 Isn't love grand!

 Aren't you glad we don't have to sit in the wind and snow and rain on eggs!

I watched this eagle pair lay & hatch 3 eggs and then raise 3 eaglets last spring. It was amazing! It felt like one of my own watching them fly for the first time! The camera is on all the time. Looks like we have 2 eggs so far. The first one was laid on 2-17-12 and the 2nd on 2-20-12 If there is going to be a 3rd egg it should be laid tonight 2-23 as they lay 3 days apart. Click on the highlighted dates if you want to watch the eggs being laid.
UPDATE: WE NOW HAVE 3 EGGS! laid on the 25th

  • How high is the nest? About 80 feet.
  • How big is the nest? About 6 feet across, about 4 feet deep; it weighs close to 1000 lb.
  • How old is the nest? The eagles built it in 2007. 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 from last year 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. Her markings at that time indicated that she was about 4 years old. They successfully hatched and fledged 2 eaglets in 2008, 3 in 2009, 3 in 2010, and 3 in 2011.
  • What is the area around the nest like? The nest is in a cottonwood tree 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. The nest 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.
The dad is in charge of keeping the nest fit and clean. They both take turns sitting on the eggs and bringing each other food. It is so cool when the eaglets are here and one of the parents brings in a rabbit or a fish and feeds them. They are fuzzy like peach fuzz at first and then their feathers come in. It is amazing to watch the transformation. These eggs should hatch in April and the eaglets should fledge or start flying around the end of June.

Here are a couple of links of you want to investigate further...

Live nest cam - watch out it is addictive!

Interview with Bob Anderson - He's the guy in charge

I'll post updates along the way! Enjoy Mother nature!

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