DECORAH — A fuzzy bobblehead pecked its way into the world late Monday or early Tuesday — the first offspring of the season for the Decorah eagles, and their 24th since the Raptor Resource Project’s nest camera brought them to the world’s attention.
“Bobblehead — that’s a very good descriptive term. That’s about all you see for the first week or two,” said John Howe, executive director of the Raptor Resource Project.
D24, as the eaglet has been christened, will likely be joined by two siblings by the end of this week, he said.
Howe said the hatchling was confirmed at 6:22 a.m. Tuesday. Because the chick was already dry and fluffy by then, Howe said the actual hatching could have occurred hours earlier.
“I thought I saw a hole in the shell late Monday and then by this morning it was, ‘Where did you come from?’” Howe said Tuesday.
Howe said it was gratifying to see the Decorah eagles raise a family in the nest that he and others partially built for them last year.
After a storm blew down their previous nest, the Raptor Resource Project built a “starter nest” that the eagles finished and occupied.
“It’s a monumental moment. I just feel really good about it,” said Raptor Resource Project board member Neil Rettig, who was at the nest Tuesday with others who helped build it.
“I had tears in my eyes. It’s a bittersweet emotional thing,” said Rettig, a longtime friend and colleague of the group’s founder, Bob Anderson, who died suddenly last year.
“It was Bob’s vision and mission to use technology — which sometimes takes people away from nature — to bring them closer to it,” Rettig said.
The March 29 date of the first 2016 hatch is fairly consistent with previous years: March 27 in 2015, April 2 in 2014, March 25 in 2013, March 27 in 2012, April 1 in 2011 and April 3 in 2010.
Howe said about 5,000 viewers were on line at any given time in the days leading up to the hatching.
“It’s going to go a lot higher than that,” he said.
The Decorah eagles can be viewed at raptorresource.org (clicking on bird cams at the top). A second Decorah eagles nest, known as Decorah North, can be viewed at that site or at explore.org/live-cams/player/decorah-eagles-north-nest
Video of D24's first appearance: