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Author Topic: Decorah Eagles 2018  (Read 305 times)
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Donna
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« on: 25-Apr-18, 06:23:17 AM »

Decorah Eagles: Morning Update & A Little "Hope"
Our search team was on the ground early this morning continuing to look for Dad Decorah who was last seen on the nest about 7:30pm Wednesday Evening. As you know from our previous posts, Mom has been calling for him, and she is also in the company of an Unidentified Male Eagle (UME) who has been perched close by the nest tree and surrounding trees. He does not seem to pose a threat to Mom or the eaglets, but she has vocalized her displeasure. Mom continues to do what she does best, care, feed and nurture D29, D30, and D31 while taking few and short breaks. We will continue to provide updates as they come in from our boots-on-the-ground search team. We know that this is a very tough time for all of you who love the Decorah Eagles, and it is for all of us here at RRP as well. We're buoyed by your supportive and kind comments, and want to leave you with a little hope … it's what we are all holding on to as we search for an outcome.

Please don't ask what happened to Dad or speculate … We wish we knew, but we don't, and are hoping to find him while remaining optimistic. Take the time to read our previous posts from yesterday and you might find that a question you wonder about has been answered. Our wonderful mods here are working overtime to read and acknowledge your posts, and answer questions, and we're stretched a little thin, as some of our volunteers are part of the search effort.

What we can tell you is that Mom and the eaglets are fine. She has tremendous strength as well as skills learned from the best - her devoted partner Dad Decorah. The hatchery is right outside the nest door for trout, as well as the stream below for the run of spring suckers, and there is still food stockpiled in the pantree. The eaglets have their wooly natal down jackets and are able to better thermoregulate and will do fine. Even if unattended for a short bit, they are never far from Mom's watchful eyes.

Thank you all for your support, kindness, and understanding during a most difficult time for everyone.

Raptor Resource Project
22 April at 21:16 ·
I’d like to start this message to you all with my own acknowledgement of admiration for Dad Decorah, who has captivated the hearts and minds of so many. For over 10 years, he has served as the subject of enjoyment, education, and wonder for millions of people, while being an eagle partner to Mom Decorah and Dad to many eaglets. It is amazing to think that after the successful fledge of D29, D30 and D31, he will have brought so many fish to the nest, gathered and shimmied so many eaglets underneath him, and delivered so many eaglet meals to 31 eaglets that we know! After so many hours of gazing at this beautiful creature, I have to share a couple photos of him tending to his young and keeping them safe with Mom Decorah during the recent snowstorms.

To the best of our knowledge, Dad Decorah has been missing since Thursday morning. We are doing our best to answer the question – “what happened to Dad?”. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all those that helped in the search for Dad Decorah on Friday, Saturday, and into a portion of Sunday. We had over 20 people there to help with the efforts, including the Decorah Fire Department Search & Rescue Team. That includes people that were able to be physically present and those that were not, but were helping behind the scenes. It really came in handy to have Incident Commander experience assembling and managing emergency response spill crews in a prior career. We train to be thorough, methodical, and keep good communication channels open and that is exactly what the larger reconnaissance team did Saturday morning. Local residents, volunteers, and RRP staff set out to search the grounds from the immediate nest area all the way out to the perimeter of the valley. We scoured the normal roost and perch areas that Dad Decorah frequented. Highways and focus points like road-kill along them were targeted. The Decorah Fire Department also used their drone experts to check out some of the more challenging areas. We did not encounter any sign of him up to this point.

We will continue monitoring the situation at N2B while the new nest dynamics play out. Thank you all for your understanding during this difficult time, as we do our best to figure out what happened and observe a new reality that is unfolding before our eyes. We know that Mom is strong, experienced, and we are pulling for her success…..and we are in this together as we have always been. That is what has made this group of eagle followers special. Our human emotions and attachment to these amazing creatures cannot be denied. Having said that, we all have the opportunity to witness nature unscripted and unedited. It is an opportunity to understand and become connected to the natural world through “our eagles”.

Again, thank you for your care, concern, and support of these very special bald eagles and the world-wide educational effort they allow us to provide.

John Howe, Director
Raptor Resource Project

  Hope they find him, crazy how he just disappeared.  Sad
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Carol P.
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« Reply #1 on: 25-Apr-18, 08:36:11 AM »

I hope they find him and he's ok.  Sad
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Donna
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« Reply #2 on: 26-Apr-18, 06:20:27 AM »

With Dad still missing, the UME is getting too close for comfort.

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Carol P.
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« Reply #3 on: 26-Apr-18, 07:20:57 AM »

It will be interesting to see if this male will help care for the young ones. I hope he does.  pray
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« Reply #4 on: 26-Apr-18, 11:18:31 AM »

What a mom-she's going to need a vacation in the Bahamas after her eaglets fledge!  yes
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« Reply #5 on: 26-Apr-18, 06:49:18 PM »

Posted on Raptor Resource Project FB page...

It has been eight days since we last saw Dad Decorah - eight days of searching, observing, communicating, worrying, and shedding tears. Eight days of talking to our board, our volunteers, and our eagle panel, coordinating activities, planning for Dad’s loss or recovery, and thinking back on Bob and the wonderful educational and research adventure that he created. Eight days of desperately wishing that Dad would return and make the world of the Decorah Eagles right again. In the words of Sherri Elliott, Dad was a masterful architect, skilled hunter, proficient prey purveyor, loving and perfect partner, defender of all things that go bump in the night, and devoted Dad to 31 eaglets. And now we have to accept that we – and Mom – will have to go on without him.

We still don't know why Dad is missing, although our panel of eagle experts suggested that a fight with the unidentified male eagle (UME) was the most likely reason for his disappearance. Given the high density of the surrounding eagle population and number of floaters, or non-breeding adults, intra-species fighting has become a major source of natural mortality for bald eagles. While the panel didn't entirely reject hypothermia or illness, they felt it was not very likely given that Dad didn't appear sick, didn't have green mute stains on his tail, and had previously gone through bad weather, including wet April snow storms, with no problem. They also mentioned electrocution and car collisions as potential sources of mortality, and rejected the idea that Dad simply gave up and left. We found no evidence at all of Dad being shot or kidnapped.

People have been searching the Decorah area since Thursday, April 19 on foot, by car, and with regular and thermal-imaging drones. So why haven’t we been able to find Dad? It is possible that he was carried away by a scavenger or hid himself before succumbing to his injuries - a natural defense instinct to lay low and avoid predators. We've responded to many injured bald eagle reports and we've always found it amazing and frustrating to see how well they can hide in even very open landscapes. Given the sheer number of bald eagles, finding a dead or injured bald eagle is the exception, not the rule. In some ways, it seems fitting that we will never truly know what happened to him. Dad remained his very own self until the end.

RRP director John Howe pointed out yesterday that we are seeing something that is hard for us, but very normal in eagle life – and something that most people didn’t understand or know about until we started watching eagles in their nests. Death and the succession of eagles is part of the natural order, but that doesn't make it any less sad when it happens. We watch the Decorah eagles and love them, but they belong to no one but themselves. Their lives are a gift we are privileged to share and learn from. 

We extend a huge and heartfelt thanks to our board, our eagle experts, our volunteers, the Decorah Fire Department, and the people of Decorah for all their help, care, and concern during a difficult time. Another huge and heartfelt thanks to all of you who have joined us on this journey. Some of the most heartwarming questions and comments have come from our young student eagle followers and we extend a special thanks to them and to their teachers for the honest, open, and very touching discussions they have had about our eagle family. We have come to the end of the first chapter of the Decorah Eagle family, the story that began so many years ago with Bob Anderson, Neil Rettig, and American Eagle. But more stories remain to be told, and after all these years, much remains to be learned.

We will be holding a remembrance of Dad Decorah on our Facebook page on Wednesday, May 2nd. We will open the page that day so watchers can post memories, poems, stories, and artwork of our beloved Dad. In the meantime, we will be watching Mom and the eaglets. She has been doing a wonderful job of caring for and protecting her eaglets in Dad’s absence, and we wish for nothing but the best for all of them.

Chat will be closed on Thursday, May 3rd, to give our moderators a little time of their own.
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« Reply #6 on: 27-Apr-18, 09:42:02 AM »

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patsy6
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« Reply #7 on: 27-Apr-18, 03:51:58 PM »

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