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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Great Information About the Decorah Eagles!

I have been in such awe as my students and I continually observed the Decorah Eagles.  We have been observing over the last eight weeks, and this experience has changed us in so many ways!  I know I personally have such a deep profound admiration for these eagles and the hard work and dedication of the parents! My students and I have learned such an incredible amounts of information through our observations and research.  Yesterday, I came upon some wonderful details on the eagles' FaceBook page that helped me to understand the growth and development of the eaglets over the next couple weeks. I thought it was so neat, I decided to post it on our blog.  Thank you so much to the Raptor Resource Project and the Decorah Eagles' Team for making this information available.

Questions of the Week:   When will they (the baby eagles) fly?

"Learning to fly is a process. They are currently wingercizing. This entails flapping their wings and hopping. Late in the wingercizing phase, a gust of wind will lift them accidentally, and they will hover over the nest because their muscles are strong enough to hold their wings in the correct position and their flight feathers are long enough to sustain the lift. Branching comes after that. Branching is defined as a small hop and lift onto the closest branch. Unless there is a panner present at the time, we will not see this first very small journey away from the nest to the branch. Fledge or first self-propelled flight away from and back to the nest tree comes last. The whole process last 10-13 weeks.

Why do the eaglets so often sit at the dangerous edge of the nest looking out rather than stay more safely in the bowl? An eagle lives by perusing the landscape in the hunt for prey, and eaglets have the instinct to do this at an early age, as soon as their eyes can focus and see long distances. It would be abnormal for them not to go up to the edge of the sticks surrounding the bowl and look out. Also by instinct eaglets almost never will wander beyond the sticks, so they are not in danger of falling out. Are the eaglets safe when the parents are not in the nest, especially at night? Perfectly safe. One or both parents will roost on branches nearby and can fly to the nest in an instant if necessary.

What is a pellet? At about 4 weeks of age the eaglets begin eating all parts of the prey including bones, scales, fins, fur, feathers, teeth, etc. Indigestible parts are compressed into a pellet that the eagle then casts back up out of the mouth. An eagle might cast a pellet once a day, usually before eating."

To learn more, check out the Decorah Eagles on FaceBook or YouTube!


  1. These eagles are absolutely stunning. I live in southern Australia and on some rare occasions, we have sighted Wedge Tailed eagles in the sky above our farm. They are magnificent creatures too.
    I also teach years 4/5 students ICT and am interested in quadblogging with you.

    1. Murcha, thank you so much for your comment! I have been so intrigued and fascinated by the Decorah Eagle; I hope it will become a yearly topic of study for my students! I would love to talk with you more about quadblogging. How can I get in touch with you? I want my students to be more actively involved with communicating across the globe! I truly am excited about the possibilities of actively engaging students through technology!