Welcome to the observation thread following the Trio Eagles of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge. The purpose of this thread is to observe and document the daily behaviors of the Trio Eagles, two males and one female named Valor 1, Valor 2, and Starr. We wish to thank the Stewards of the Upper Mississippi River Refuge for providing us with cam coverage and a look into the lives of this unique eagle family. As noted below, the Stewards have been following this nest since 2004. While there were many changes along the way, since that time the past two years have brought an established raptor family. We hope to see another successful year of eaglets growing into fledglings to soar free into their life’s journey.
Please join us in posting observations of this fascinating and unique eagle family. Noted are descriptions of the past history, links to information about the Trio Eagles, and identifications images for the eagles. And we need your help with observations. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact SueB or Sandy_W, TAs for this thread. We welcome your thoughts and questions as we wish for this time with the Trio Eagles to be enjoyable and educational for everyone watching, reading and posting. We can guarantee observing the Trio Eagles will be a remarkable experience.
The nest is located in the backwaters of the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge near Lock and Dam 13, Fulton IL on the Mississippi River. The Stewards of the Upper Mississippi River Refuge work hand in hand with the US Fish and Wildlife Service staff that is located at the Ingersoll Wetlands Learning Center, Thomson, IL. Photo credit from Google maps: Sharon Gatzke Eckstein
A look at the massive size of the nest. On June 16, 2019, the cam operator adjusted the cam and gave us a look at the nest.
© 2019 StewardsUMRR, JCWiFi Photo captured 4-9-2020 © 2020 StewardsUMRR
Cam and Important Links:
The Stewards of the Upper Mississippi River Refuge website
Link to 2018 - 2019 Season
Link to 2017 - 2018 Season
PAST HISTORY OF THE TRIO NEST
- 2004 – The nest and eggs were destroyed by high winds.
- 2005 – The nest and eggs were destroyed by high winds.
- 2006 – One mate died after flying into an electrical power line. The other mate abandoned the nest and eggs.
- 2007 – Two young fledged.
- 2008 – Three young fledged.
- 2009 – One chick fledged, but flew into an electrical power line and died.
- 2010 – Three chicks fledged
- 2011 – The nest was relocated and webcam installed. Wooden supports were added to the old nest for stability.
- 2011 – Eggs were laid, but parents abandoned nest. The tree collapsed in June, due to wind.
- 2012 – Nest was rebuilt in old location, near Lock and Dam 13. Two eggs were laid and eventually hatched. Behavior of male (Valor) indicated that he was young and didn’t know exactly what to do. He had limited interest in incubation and feeding. Both eggs hatched, but each eaglet at 3 days old perished.
- 2013 – New nest location. Three adults were around nest. Behavior indicated that Valor I was replaced with Valor II. The pair successfully raised 2 eaglets. Working on moving camera to new location. We need to raise some money to purchase electrical wire. Camera was placed in mid-November, 2013 at nest location. However, there are several new nests being built. We are waiting to see where they settle before proceeding with camera setup.
- 2014 – unable to see nest due to vegetation, saw three adult eagles around the nest.
- 2015 – Eagles worked on two different nest locations. Nest that was used in 2013 was the site they used at the last minute. Unable to get camera hooked up due to disturbance. 3 eaglets were fledged. Three adult eagles were seen around the nest site.
- 2016 – Trio of eagles (two males, one female) successfully fledged 3 young. Finally documented that indeed all three are sharing in all aspects of nesting. Video was taken of all three copulating, building the nest and raising the young.
- 2017 – Trio has returned and has been working on the nest periodically. Copulation has been seen on 1/19/17: 1/26/2017 – 1st egg was laid, 1/29/2017- 2nd egg was laid and 2/1/2017 – 3rd egg was laid. 3/7/2017 – 1st eaglet hatched, 3/9/2017 – 2nd eaglet hatched. Third egg never hatched. On the evening of March 24, two adult bald eagles attacked the nest. The webcam recorded the attack that lasted over an hour and shows two adult eagles battling on the ground in a desperate talon clinching struggle. When the struggle ended, both eagles hopped out of sight of the webcam. Hope did not return to the nest that night and still was not present at the nest on the morning of March 25. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service staff intensively searched the area under the eagle nest and adjoining land areas. The nest is located on a narrow-forested peninsula that is surrounded by Mississippi River backwaters. The searchers found no sign of Hope nor of feathers on the ground where the struggle occurred. Valor 1 and Valor 2 were disturbed by the searchers and remained off the nest during the search and for several hours after searchers left the area. On the evening of March 26, two adult bald eagles made a second recorded attack on the nest. Valor 1 and Valor 2 boldly defended the chicks and prevented the marauding eagles from entering the nest and no injuries were observed. Daily attacks occurred throughout April with an occasional flyby in May. Two males continued to raise the eaglets to fledging. They fledged on 5/30/2017. Hope is considered MIA and not expected to be found.
- 2018 – 09/01/2017 – New female was seen with both males. Female is a young adult due to few darker feathers on her head. Periodically all three are seen at the nest bringing in and moving sticks around. This is part of the bonding ritual that they do. 2/10/2018 – first egg was laid, 2/13/2018 – second egg was laid. 3/20/2018, the first eaglet was observed, 3/21/2018, the second eaglet arrived. 4/18/2018, #2 eaglet died of unknown causes. 5/19/2018, #1 fledged early at 8.5 weeks of age. It spent the next several weeks on a platform below the nest. The parents changed the feeding to that location. It was seen in a tree on the opposite side of the island a month later doing just fine.
- 2019 – 2/18/2019, 1st egg was laid in the morning, 2/21/2019, 2nd egg was laid in the late afternoon. 2/24/2019, 3rd egg was laid in late afternoon. 3/2/19, E1 hatched. 3/29/19, E2 hatched and 4/1/19, E3 hatched. 6/6/2019, E2 was making a running approach to land on the limb with E1. In so doing he/she caught E3 off guard and knocked he/she over the edge of the nest. The eaglet learned the first lesson on how to swim. It was later spotted south of the nest and then again north of the nest. Parents continued to feed E3 at that location. 6/22/19, E3 was back at the nest with E1 and E2. 6/17/2019, both eaglets fledged at 5:42am and 7:38am.