Friday, December 29, 2017

A trip down memory lane: Favorites from 2017, Decorah Edition!

It's time for a look back at 2017! We asked the mods for some favorite moments from Decorah and Decorah North. We'll feature Decorah today and Decorah North tomorrow. We hope you enjoy a trip down memory lane! 2017 marked the 9th year that Mom and Dad have nested together in a cottonwood tree! They produced fourteen eaglets at N1, nine eaglets at N2, and five eaglets at N2B, the nest we started for them in August of 2015. We don't know how old Dad is, but he is older than Mom, who turned fourteen this year.

Mom back, Dad front
We'll start with the eaglets. All of the eaglets were somebody's favorite! You liked (or were distressed by) D26's fierce behavior and insistence on being first to the dinner table, especially in the first few weeks. You cheered for D28 when he bonked back at the older and larger D26, and groaned, worried, or emailed when D27 took the brunt of D26's bonkings. While any given eaglet was someone's favorite, many of you were captivated by D27! Whether she was screeing for food, acting the Diva, lounging about in the nest, or beginning her first tentative explorations during fledge, you watched her, compared to her to D1, and weren't especially surprised to find out that it was a she once Brett, John, and company fitted her for a transmitter! Jfrancl wrote:

"One of my favorite memories from the 2017 season was watching D27's behaviors as she grew and how different she was from D26 and D28. She seemed to follow the pattern I have often read about on eaglet gender behavior and growth patterns.  In my mind I knew she had to be female!" You can continue to follow D27 here:

JFrancl also mentioned: "Three eggs and three hatches, again! D28 attempting to eat its first meal on hatch day! Tandem feedings. Giggling at the Tree Amigos! Observing all three throughout the season and guessing genders based on behaviors. The hatchery cam. Watching all participating classroom students excited to learn about eagles! Working closely with John, Amy, the Ustream chat room mods and the Facebook mods in helping to continue Bob's mission. Once again, watching Mom and Dad's attentiveness and devotion to their young. Last but not least, a great After the Fledge Celebration!" I thought this video of a feeding from April 4th was a lot of fun. Remember D28's dark head? And it was a greatATF! We all loved seeing Mr. Decorah (widely believed to be D20 from 2014): Our mods gave everyone a nice goodbye, too:

D26, D28, and D27 (I think) on April 08, 2017
Since everyone loves hatch and first glimpse videos, I included them as well:
Glogdog wrote: "One of my favorite videos that sticks in my mind this season was on 1/2/17 when Dad brings in a long stick and gets stuck between 2 trees in mid-air. Mom realizes it and steps up to help bring it down! I also liked the times that Mom and Dad protected the eaglets during bad weather."
Mom and Dad working together as a team to protect the eaglets on April 3rd, 2017 
Tulsa Ducati: "Lightning show!" Tulsa joined the ranks of our videomakers this year and we featured many of her videos. One of her favorites was the incredible storm that rolled in on June 28.

Faith: "A tandem evening feeding". This video was also one of my favorites. Mom and Dad feed the eaglets together on the evening of April 2nd.

Mom and Dad tandem feeding on April 2nd, 2017
Oregonian: "D27 gets back to nest!" I had completely forgotten about this, so I really appreciated the reminder! Oregonian wrote: "Without a doubt watching D27 work her way back to the nest after she tumbled out. I was riveted watching her figure how to get back.

Pyrmum wrote: "My favorite moments are when Dad is feeding the eaglets and he keeps looking around to see if Mom is on her way to kick him off the nest. I get a real kick out of it!" All of us get a kick out of Mom and Dad's antics! I was not able to find a specific video for this behavior (although I remember it), so I substituted another favorite - Mom gently nudging Dad off the nest!

Robin Brumm had several favorites!
  • 4-3-17 "When both parents were trying to protect the eaglets from the rain. Dad didn't want to leave, but finally Mom pushed him out. When he got up, I believe he knocked D27 on her back, so she was laying their with her little feet flailing, lol!"
  • 4-13-17 "...And you can't forget when D26 went for a little ride on the clump of grass mom was trying to pull out of the nest cup!
  • 5-6-17 "Not that it was a favorite, but it was memorable when Mom got knocked off the skywalk by the owl."
  • 7-16-17 "All three juvies hanging out in N1 and the Y branch." (This was also a favorite of mine):
Fledged eaglet, 07/01/17. I'm sure Robin knows eggsaxctly who this is!
I had a number of favorites, but these really stood out for me!
  • Lunch feeding - close zoom and wide angle: I loved the view of all three eaglets and this is one of the first times we saw D28 show its fierce! While D27 submitted to D26's bonking behavior, D28 tended to bonk back.
  • Incredible portrait close-ups of D26 and D27 - close zoom. I mentioned I was a sucker for the downy stage, right? In the same vein - Dad allows nestlings out to enjoy warm day:
  • D26 attacking corn husk: Lol - show us how it's done, D26!
  • Three-way mantle: All three eaglets show off their excellent grasp of eaglet table manners. The winner takes all!
Judging by readership, your five favorite blogs in 2017 were:
  • Endangered Species Act Under Threat From Congress (13,511)
    The Act itself hasn't been overturned, but Congress consistently introduced bills and amendments to weaken it, including five that we blogged about here. All of them passed committee and Congress didn't adjourn this year, so those bills may still move forward in 2018.  In late December, the Trump administration declared that they would not be enforcing the Migratory Bird Act.
  • Eagle Eyes! (6233)
    This was fun to write about. I'm a little jealous of bald eagle eyes - human eyes don't see as well or in as many colors!
  • What's inside those bald eagle eggs? (4954)
    This blog discussed embryonic development inside the egg. Some of you really liked it...but some of you were totally weirded out by the illustrations of embryonic stages! Remember to set your clocks for 72 hours once an egg is laid. At that point, the developing eaglet's heart starts beating!
  • Message from the Director (4587)
    You wanted to know what John had to say! 
  • Eaglet growth and development, week two (4523)
    This was the most popular of three development blogs. We talked about the stages of development in all three of our nests, as well as the general structure of eaglet development. We'll do more of these next year!
Have a very happy new year and thanks for watching with us in 2017! We're looking forward to watching with you again in 2018 - and don't forget to check out our new ads-free Decorah Eagles stream at

Dad Decorah