Decorah Eagle Dies, Feathers to Be Used in Indian Ceremonies


On July 1, one of the Decorah eagles was killed, apparently electrocuted after coming in contact with power lines. The eagle, known as D12, hatched on March 27, branched on June 9 and fledged on June 13.

The Decorah eagles, who nest in Decorah, Iowa, are Internet sensations, with millions of people across the globe following them via live Web streaming. The Decorah Eagle Cam is currently on a “summer break,” but will return this fall.

“Sometimes eagles hit wires and don’t get hurt,” Bob Anderson, executive director of the nonprofit Raptor Resource Project, told The Des Moines Register. But electrocutions are fairly common. “That big a wingspan, sometimes things go wrong,” he said.

D12 was the first to die of the 14 eagles who have nested in Decorah. The bird won’t be buried. “The carcass needs to be turned over to the Fish and Wildlife Service, sent to the National Eagle Repository,” Anderson said, and its “feathers distributed to the Indian community.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service established the National Eagle Repository in Denver, Colorado, in the early 1970s to provide the feathers of golden and bald eagles for Native American religious services.

The tragic loss of D12 is being mourned across Indian country, but he will be honored in ceremonies with the use of his feathers.

For further info on the Decorah eagles, visit their facebook page here, or see video clips of the eagles here.

Also visit RaptorResource.org for a wealth of information and resources on eagles, including links to birdcams.