Injured Decorah eagle prepped for surgery - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Injured Decorah eagle prepped for surgery

One last eaglet getting ready to leave the nest One last eaglet getting ready to leave the nest

DECORAH (WXOW) - It's been a rough year for the Decorah eagles.

The three eaglets recently fledged and left the nest, but something was wrong.

“Usually they'll fly maybe to that tree there and then fly back to the nest,” said Bob Anderson, Director of the Raptor Resource Project in Decorah. “They're not doing that this year.”

When the eaglets left, they stayed away. Anderson said the problem is probably the overwhelming gnat infestation.

“The birds were just perpetually twitching,” he said. “I mean, I would have gone mad, I would have gone absolutely insane, and I think a lot of birds did. It might have even delayed their development a little bit because they were just so compromised, so stressed out.”

Anderson said even though the eaglets have reached their full size by the time they leave the nest, and have a wingspan of over 6 feet, they're still very vulnerable until one year of age.

“Maybe 50 percent, 40 percent survive the first year,” he said. “Once they survive the first year, there's a much higher survivability.”

Now, two of the young birds are doing fine, but a third was found this week with a broken wing. Caretakers plan to repair it in surgery Friday, but its future is still very uncertain. Reintroducing the bird to the wild could take more than a year.

Anderson said there's a lesson here for eagle watchers.

“It's the ultimate reality show,” he said. “It show the wonder and the cruelty of nature. People saw the parents trying to keep eggs from freezing at 20 degrees below zero. They saw the parents trying to shelter the babies in driving snow and pouring rain … It's not Disney-fied. It's the real world. And for that reason, it shows life in its reality, and I think that's good.”

DECORAH, Iowa (WXOW) - If you've been watching the Decorah Eagle Cam Thursday, you may have noticed two of the eaglets are no longer in the nest.

Fear not! This week's storms did not claim them.

Bob Anderson, director of the Raptor Resource Project and the man who runs the Decorah eagle cameras and live stream, said two of this year's three eaglets fledged on Wednesday, meaning they flew off and left the nest.

The third eaglet, Anderson said, hatched about five days behind the others, so it may still have a day or two before it flies away.

The eaglets aren't gone for good, however. Anderson said they'll likely stick around the nest until late July. When the eaglets fledged last year, he said, they took off to the Decorah Eagles' old nest, which is also under camera surveillance.


DECORAH, Iowa (WXOW) - This year's hatch of three bald eagles continue to grow day by day.

According to the Raptor Resource Center, the trio, each now weighing several pounds each, are starting to get taller.  During their first 40 days of life, they have a very rapid growth rate. 

The eaglets are starting to grow out their feathers needed for a first flight which usually happens at about the 8th week.
The feathers will be varying shades of black, white, and gray until they reach maturity, sometime during their fifth year. By then, they will have developed their well-known dark brown body and white head.


DECORAH, Iowa (WXOW) - It is getting crowded in the nest in Decorah for the famous family of eagles.

The third and final eaglet broke out of its shell early Monday morning.

Viewers around the world watched as the eagle, known officially as D-20, joined the other two eaglets in the nest near the Decorah Fish Hatchery.


DECORAH, Iowa (WXOW) - Eaglet number two hatched sometime early Friday morning.


DECORAH, Iowa (WXOW) - The first of the eaglets is hatching.  It is the first of the three eggs to hatch, which started on Tuesday.


DECORAH, Iowa (WXOW) - The Decorah eagles are laying eggs.

The Raptor Resource Project announced that the first egg was laid by the eagles at 4:55 p.m. on February 23. Based on past experiences, the group expects that the eagles could lay two more eggs during the next week. 

According to the statement from the group, both eagles will take turns incubating the eggs.  Eagle eggs begin hatching between 35-39 days after being laid.


DECORAH, Iowa (WXOW) - After a year away from the spotlight, the Decorah eagles are getting ready to lay their eggs.

And this year, the world will be watching once again.

The Eagle Cam is making Decorah a destination..

The Decorah Eagle Cams have become a worldwide phenomenon thanks to the internet.

Many times, Bob Anderson is at the controls.

He's the director of the Raptor Resource Project..

"There's something that takes place psychologically with bird cams and something as popular as the Decorah Eagle Cam. Somewhere between 50 and 500 hours of watching it, it becomes your eagles. I see that. It becomes their birds and they have to come here to see their birds," said Anderson.

Visitors from around the world come to Winneshiek County to see the eagles in their natural habitat. Now, last year, the eagles decided not to be in a nest that was videotaped so the numbers dropped slightly. This year, that's not expected to be the case.

That's because last year's nest is now surrounded by cameras, too.

It's about 300 feet from the other nest with cameras.

The nests are now the top destination in Decorah.

"Last year, when the camera was not on them, the numbers dropped drastically. 2 years ago, we were much busier than we were last year," said Bill Kalishek, a fisheries biologist at the nearby Decorah Fish Hatchery.

The eagles activity can be entertaining, soothing, but most of all a learning opportunity.

"Because we have infrared cameras, we've learned bald eagles come and go during the night. We didn't know that," said Anderson.

Besides cameras on the other nest, also new this year are cameras on a nest along the Mississippi River near Glen Haven, Wisconsin in Grant County.

 "We know this pair brings in trout and squirrels, a lot of squirrels. The pair on the Mississippi River brings in fish and ducks so I do see a little change in what they bring in for chow," said Anderson.

Anderson expects eggs to be laid in the next two to three weeks.

Then, the world will watch.

The cameras are running now, if you'd like to watch the eagles continue to build their nest to anticipate their new arrivals.

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