Decorah Eagles Building Second Nest

By Orlan Love, Reporter

The pair of eagles made famous by the webcam at their nest by the fish hatchery near Decorah on Tuesday, March 6, 2011. The video camera can be seen at the top left. (Cliff Jette/The Gazette-KCRG)


By Belinda Yeung

DECORAH, Iowa - The world-famous Decorah eagles may be taking a year’s hiatus from their highly acclaimed reality show.

“They’re building a new nest about 300 feet from the old one. If they actually move into it, we won’t be able to install nest cameras” until after next year’s brood has left the nest, said Bob Anderson, director of the Raptor Resource Project, which operates a webcam whose live footage of the nest is streamed via the Internet to millions of fans.

“That means the nest cam would be down for a year,” he said.

Although scores of curious fans ogle the actual eagles and their nest each day, Anderson said the potential move is not in response to excessive pressure from people.

The new nest, he said, is no more secluded than the eagles’ home for the past seven years — atop a cottonwood tree in the lawn of a private residence little more than 100 feet from the increasingly busy road that brings visitors to the Decorah Fish Hatchery.

The new nest, like the established one, is close to the popular Trout Run Trail, which brings a steady stream of hikers and bikers to the area.

“People stop all the time and watch them build their new nest,” Anderson said.

Construction began in mid-October and has proceeded rapidly. By the end of the month, what had been a collection of sticks in the crotch of a cottonwood bore unmistakable resemblance to the nest of eagles.

About 43 percent of eagle pairs build a second nest, often when their existing nest has no apparent defects, he said.

Anderson said he knows of a single tree in Virginia that has three nests built by the same pair of eagles.

The Decorah eagles’ official residence won’t be known until late January when they start lining the nest they intend to use with grass, he said.

Anderson said he continues to be amazed at the travels of the young eagles upon which he has affixed satellite transmitters in each of the past two summers.

D1, a female hatched in 2011, is almost back to the Decorah area after spending her summer near Hudson Bay above the Arctic Circle.

D14, a male hatched this year, is much more of a homebody, having thus far traveled little more than 60 miles from his natal nest.

Although the Decorah eagle nest is seldom occupied during the winter, people continue to log onto the website, click here.

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