Famous Decorah Eagles Welcome First Eggs of the Year

A pair of bald eagles in Decorah, Iowa, have captured the attention of their fans once again after the female was seen laying her first egg of the year on a live video-feed set up watching their nest.

They might be completely unaware, but this pair of bald eagles have become known as Mom and Dad and have been fascinating nature lovers and raptor enthusiasts for years thanks to a camera set up by the Raptor Resource Project (RRP). This camera has offered us a unique glimpse into the eagles’ otherwise secret lives.

Over the years, more than 309 million visitors have tuned in to Ustream to watch them, and this season has brought some serious raptor drama since the camera was turned on in October. Last month, the pair was caught in a brawl over their nest as a pair of great horned owls boldly tried to claim it for themselves.

“The footage is shocking,” Bob Anderson, RRP’s director, told the DesMoines Register. “This is the first time it’s ever been documented. Ever.”

More excitement ensued last Wednesday evening when Mom laid her first egg of the year, ending speculation about who would win the battle to keep the nest.

“The ‘who gets the nest?’ nail-biting appears to be over, and the winners are Mom and Dad Decorah!” RRP wrote in a Facebook update after the egg was laid.

According to Anderson, the pair usually lay about three eggs in total that are spaced out every three days. The second egg arrived on Saturday evening. Now their fans are waiting to see if there will be a third one. According to experts, both parents will share incubation duty for about 35 days before the eggs hatch, so we can expect some eaglets to appear in March. For now Mom and Dad are carefully taking turns keeping their eggs warm in below-freezing temperatures.

According to RRP, the first egg marked the 21st for the pair, who have successfully hatched all 20 of their previous eggs. This success rate brings hope not only to their fans but to those who want to see the fierce birds of prey thrive. While the fate of most of their young ones is unknown, Mom and Dad chose some prime real estate for their nest near a fish hatchery, giving them an even greater chance of survival.

The species’ comeback from the brink after being protected under the Endangered Species Act in 1978 marks an enormous conservation success. Despite that conservation success, and even though their numbers are up and their having been removed from federal protection in 2007, they still face a number of threats that range from lead poisoning, habitat loss, illegal shooting, electrocution and now a deadly bacteria that has been impacting populations in the southeast.

Hopefully Mom and Dad Decorah’s latest additions, and the great footage we’re seeing from nest cams like this, will keep inspiring us to work to ensure we never see this iconic species return to its imperiled past.

To see more of the Decorah eagles, you can watch them live on Ustream and follow updates on their Facebook page.

Photo credit: Thinkstock,


Dianne D.
Dianne D2 years ago

God bless all the animals in the world and those that love and care for them

Jim Ven
Jim Ven2 years ago

thanks for the article.

Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Jennifer H.
Jennifer H2 years ago

It is always fun to watch the babies hatch, grow, then leave the nest but it is always painful when we hear that one of the babies have died because of the high power lines. Thanks for sharing the story.

feather w.
Feather W2 years ago

nice story..

Carole R.
Carole R2 years ago

Such beautiful birds.

Lynn Rubal
Lynn Rubal2 years ago

Amazing!!!! Good news is always welcomed.

Beverly S.
Beverly S2 years ago

The Decorah Eagle nestcam is a fascinating and unobtrusive view of these magnificent birds. I watch it most days each season, finding it especially riveting when the eaglets are hatching. (As of today there are 3 eggs)

Vesper B.
Vesper B2 years ago


Lori Hone
Lori Hone2 years ago

What a wonderful article, thank you!