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The Daily Bucket is a place where we post and exchange our observations about the natural happenings we see. Birds, blooms, bugs and more - each note is a record that we can refer to in the future as we try to understand the patterns that are quietly unwinding around us.

Photo credit to Cliff Jette/The Gazette-KCRG

One of the great thrills technology provides is a peek into otherwise unseen worlds. We can view deep into the universe, see the structure of atoms, and watch as hibernating bears give birth. And we can be armchair bird-watchers, waiting patiently with eagles and other raptors for their eggs to hatch.

The Raptor Resource Project has been working to create, improve, and maintain nest sites for 25 years.

In addition to directly managing over 40 falcon, eagle, and owl nest sites, we provide training in nest site creation and management across the United States, reach more than 85,000 people each year through lectures, education programs, and our website, and develop innovations in nest site management and viewing that bring people closer to the world around them. Our mission is to preserve and strengthen raptor populations, to expand participation in raptor preservation, and to help foster the next generation of preservationists. Our work deepens the connection between people and the natural world, bringing benefits to both.

One of the more spectacular parts of their work is the nest cams, with their first nest cam installed in 1998. Nest cams allow us a view into the breeding life of birds we couldn't otherwise enjoy.

Only 129 miles north of my back yard, the Decorah bald eagle nest site has been cammed since 2009. This live link shows -- well, not much at all at the time I linked it. (Note there are occasional commercials, which help fund the site.)

The nest you see in the live stream was built in 2007, replacing a previous nest that fell after a support branch broke. It is about 80 feet high in a cottonwood tree on private property. The nest is about six feet across and five feet deep, and its estimated weight is more than 1,300 pounds.

The pair of eagles in the photo at the top is the nesting pair. They have been together since the winter of 2007-08, and they have hatched and fledged eaglets in each breeding season since.

In October RRP made this announcement:

October 26, 2012: The Decorah Eagles Have Surprised Us With A New Nest

In addition to working on their current nest, the Decorah Eagles have begun building an alternate nest. Multiple nest building is fairly common among Bald eagles and we don't yet know which nest they will choose for 2013. We absolutely cannot install cameras at the new nest tree this year, so we may not see the Decorah Eagles for the rest of the 2012-2013 season. We'll miss watching them online, but it is exciting to see them building their new nest. Once again, Mom and Dad are giving us fresh insights into the lives of bald eagles! Stay tuned for updates and information as the season progresses.

A slideshow of the nesting pair and their new nest is here. The show will play itself.

So we may not get to see the nesting progress in 2013 as we've enjoyed in years past. If we're able to, watch around mid-February. Last year the first egg was laid on February 17, and the first hatching was March 27.


This will be the birds' sixth nesting season. Perhaps the most famous of the nesting pair's offspring is D1.

D1 is an international traveler. Hatched in 2011, she was fitted with a transmitter shortly after she learned to fly. In the photo above you can see her leg band. Also look closely at the straight line jutting out to the upper left above her shoulder. That's her antenna.

According to, in 2011 she made a 900-mile trip into Wisconsin and Minnesota before returning to Decorah. In 2012 she spent three months on Hudson Bay in Ontario, Canada.

This link shows where D1 is now. Though she currently is in the neighborhood, D1 will not rejoin her parents at their nest.

Other Bird Cams

There are many nest cams in operation now, both for raptors and others. In comments below, let us know if you have favorites, and give links if you have them.

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