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.
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.
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.
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.
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?