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Saturday, June 20, 2015

Fledged

I first started watching the Decorah eagles last year.  From hatch to fledge.  I did so this season as well, and it is one of the things that keeps me sane in my insane body.  It’s a bit addicting, watching these beautiful creatures and learning about them from everyone on the chat.  The moderators are kind and informed and the chat is a respectable place to be due to the moderators input and influence.  There are whole schoolrooms who check in and ask questions, so keeping the chat respectful was essential.   I’ve been on other live cam sites and most don’t have moderators, let alone people who are respectful of everyone else.  Today is National Bald Eagle Day so I thought I'd post this.

This particular eagle couple (they mate for life) is the most famous on the internet.  Just type in Decorah Eagles in your search engine and you’ll find many references to them. YouTube has a bunch of videos of them, and there is an eagle documentary that features these two birds.  Each year, the female lays three eggs; that’s high for eagle couples.  Usually it’s one or two eggs, but she has consistently laid three.  This year, was D21, D22 and D23.  They do not give them names in Decorah.  The “D” is of course, for Decorah.  And the numbers represent the number of eaglets she has produced.

Sadly, last year was not a good one.   The gnats were especially bad and the eaglets fledged (they said on time but the gnats were influential in their fledge) and one was injured and broke a wing and though healed now, is in captivity (training to be an “ambassador” for eagles which means he will be a teaching bird once trained), another was electrocuted almost immediately and the third was also electrocuted later.  Decorah has been retrofitting the power lines to make them safe, but not all are.  Perching on them is dangerous for the eagles.

This year was spectacular.  The three birds seems loving to each other; they do have some fighting, but it’s mainly to teach them how to take care of themselves once they are on their own.  Now that they have fledged, mom and dad will keep teaching them hunting and survival skills for a few months and then they are on their own.  It is very hard to turn away from watching them and the Raptor Resources Project, which is who has the cameras set up (the operators of the cameras do an awesome job of panning and close-ups daily), is an incredible project that teaches about raptors of all kinds.  Donate to them if you can, as they are run by volunteers for the most part.


I am including a screenshot I took of them as babies, just over 75 days ago.  They grow quickly and in two and a half months, are close to grown.  However, they don’t reach adulthood for five years.  In the wild, they live 30 plus years if they are lucky.  Man is their biggest threat.  They are protected under Federal Law, though not endangered anymore thanks to the laws put forth in the 70’s.

Babies to the first one to fledge.  Go to YouTube and type in Decorah Eagles to see lots of videos of these incredible birds.  Keep watching the fledging one until he leaves the nest.  The jumping and hovering and wing flapping is practiced for several weeks before they take off


Just added a screenshot of all three!  On a branch near nest 1.   They were raised in nest 2

I thought the song below was appropriate for some reason


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