It appears the Decorah eagles have chosen the new nest they started last fall for this year's nesting season.
That means for the first time in five years, eagle lovers won't be able to watch their activities, including the spring hatch, online.
According to the Raptor Resource Project (RRP) Director Bob Anderson, if the eagles were going to use the old nest, they would have been observed bringing in soft nesting materials and building a nest bowl for their eggs.
For the past four years, RRP's nest-cam streamed live footage of the nest to millions of Internet viewers. The website was visited more than 200 million times by visitors from 184 countries last year.
"While they (the pair of eagles) were seen bouncing back and forth as late as the morning of Feb. 13, they appear to have a pronounced affinity for the new nest," said RRP Director Bob Anderson.
Although it hasn't been seen in Decorah before, multiple nest building is a relatively commonplace activity. In most, but not all, instances bald eagles will have more than one nest in their breeding territory.
"Alternative nests are quite common for a species that exhibits compulsive nest building behavior. While many alternative nests are active immediately, there are instances where eagles relocate from the alternative nest and return to the original nest and vice versa," said Pat Schlaurbaum of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.
Cameras on new nest?
While RRP is disappointed the eagles have left the original nest, Anderson said the pair is simply doing what eagles do.
Pending approval and support from all landowners, RRP will install cameras near the new nest in the fall of 2013.
"Cameras at both nests will assure that the public will be able to follow these famous eagles," Anderson said.
The RRP has many other bird cams across the country. The bald eagle cam in Colorado has been operating for nearly 10 years, and at this web cam viewers can switch between two cameras.
RRP also has falcon cams, red-tailed hawk cams, a vulture cam, a kestrel cam, a great blue heron cam and owl cams that can viewed from www.raptorresource.org. Click on 'bird cams' on the top of the page to view them.
More information is available at www.facebook.com/pages/Raptor-Resource-Project/103786266324668. Read more about multiple nest building and many other topics on the blog raptorresource.blogspot.com/, or chat with other bird fans at the forum: www.raptorresource.org/forum/