Decorah Eagles adopt man-made nest - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Decorah Eagles adopt man-made nest

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It's a science experiment played out in front of millions of viewers worldwide.

John Howe, director of the Raptor Resource Project, and his team built half of a nest this summer in hopes the beloved Decorah Eagles would adopt it.  Their previous nest was knocked down during a storm.

Howe says he first saw the eagles Oct. 4, and since then, has seen them spend more and more time in the nest, gradually building it up.  He says now it's nearly double the original size.

"This is the time of year where they're doing some courtship activities, that includes nest building, so that means they're bringing sticks and branches up into the tree," Howe said.

The idea was a gamble, he said.  But because the site was so close to the old nest site, it was easy to install a new high definition camera there, and hook it up to the already existing wiring.

"Sure enough, to our surprise and satisfaction, it's actually come true now," he said.

Not only has it been successful, but Howe believes it's a first for this type of project: a man-made nest in a tree for eagles.  He says there are plenty of man made nest boxes built and adopted for other bird species, but doesn't believe it's been done before in this capacity.

The adoption is also special to Howe, because this was a plan that was talked about before former director Bob Anderson passed away.

"It's neat to think about, because it was one of the last things we were talking to Bob Anderson, our former director, before he died.. He was very excited about that. So really we've put something together that we would've done with him and now we've seen this great success," Howe said.

And even though Bob is gone, Howe says he's not done contributing.

"Through memorials set up in his name, we've received enough money to nearly offset the whole price of this project, which is in the neighborhood of $20,000-$25,000."

Howe also mentioned work is nearly complete on a backup eagle camera in Decorah.  They have a camera installed on a second pair of eagles, and just need to finish laying the wiring, which he says should be done in the next month or so.

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