MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest

Wildlife reality show

Web cams open a window into lives of eagles, bears and other wild things.

The Decorah eagles.

© Raptor Resource Project

In 2013, the Decorah eagles disappointed millions when they built a new nest away from the web cam.

In the northeast Iowa town of Decorah, a pair of nesting bald eagles have become an international phenomenon.

Not only do they have a constant stream of live video, but avid watchers are snatching the best episodes capturing the many dramas that go on in and around the nest and posting them on Youtube for everyone to enjoy. 

The Raptor Resource Project posts links to them on its Facebook page, along with regular updates.

In January, the eagles court and get the nest ready. In the last half of February, Mom Decorah lays the eggs. At the end of March, the eggs hatch, and in April and May, viewers can watch the eaglets grow.

The spring of 2018 was a dramatic one in Decorah. Mom Decorah's three eggs hatched and all was going well until April 18, when Dad Decorah, devoted father to 31 eaglets over the years, disappeared and a UME, unidentified male eagle, began hanging around the nest. After a fruitless search, locals decided Dad was gone for good.

A second webcam focuses on a newer nest called Decorah North, and the eagles are known as Mr. and Mrs. North. Typically, Mrs. North lays eggs a little later. In 2018, she laid just one, and in mid-March it collapsed, apparently from a faulty shell. But the pair tried again, and in mid-April, Mrs. North laid two new eggs. 

Both hatched in mid-May, but when the eaglets were five and seven days old, they died due to a strike of black flies that carried a pathogen that overwhelmed their immune systems, combined with heat and humidity.

There's also a Minnesota DNR web cam on two bald eagles in St. Paul. They have produced three eggs a year since 2013, usually laying in mid-February. The DNR shares updates and details on its Facebook page.

There's also a web cam on a bald-eagle nest next to an Alcoa aluminum plant in Davenport, Iowa. Liberty and Justice usually lay their first egg in late February.

On the stretch of the Mississippi River between Fulton and Savanna, Ill., the Stewards of the Upper Mississippi River Refuge have installed webcams in several locations.

One is on a bald-eagle nest near Lock and Dam 13, where Hope and first one, then two males, Valor I and II, raised eaglets. In March 2017, however, Hope disappeared from the nest while fending off an attack from two other eagles, and the Valors successfully raised two chicks while defending the nest from subsequent attacks. 

In late fall, a new, young female appeared on the nest with the Valors. She has been named Starr, and in mid-February 2018, she laid two eggs. The two Valors continue to parent dutifully, and their home is known as the Trio Nest.

Another camera is in the Great Spirit Bluff peregrine falcon nest box high above the Mississippi near La Crescent, Minn. It's occupied by Newman and Michelle, who laid four eggs in late March and early April of 2017.

In the northern Chicago suburb of Evanston, there's a webcam on a peregrine falcon nesting box on the Evanston Public Library. Nona and Squawker lay their first eggs at the end of March, with hatches in early May. However, in 2017 they left the nest and have not returned.

For five years, Pebbles and Bam Bam successfully raised young at a peregrine falcon nest box on the Consolidated Grain Elevator in Savanna. However, in 2015, Bam Bam failed to return.

In the northern Minnesota town of Ely, the North American Bear Center has web cams in the dens of its four resident bears, Ted, Honey, Lucky and young Holly, rescued from a forest fire in Arkansas.

Also in Ely, you can watch the resident wolves at the International Wolf Center.

On Isle Royale in Lake Superior, Rolf Peterson and John Vucetich have posted fascinating journal entries and amazing photos from their long-running Winter Study of the island's wolves and moose.

Do you get impatient between wildlife sightings? For you, there are Animal Planet's puppy cam and kitten cam


Last updated on May 27, 2018