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.
* 2020 - 2/14/2020 5:15 pm 1st egg laid - 2/17/2020 5:50 pm 2nd egg laid - 3/23/2020 1st egg hatched -3/24/2020 2nd egg hatched - 6/10 1st eaglet fledged. - 6/16 2nd eaglet fledged. Derecho hit this area in August resulting in the nest being blown over. In early fall, the Trio eagles began building a new nest not far from the old nest in a snag tree.
Credit: Stewards of the Upper Mississippi River Refuge StewardsUMRR web page
A Narrative History as developed by JoanD:
Someone asked for the history of the Valors at the Trio nest. I said I would write it this evening. I like to expand from what is written on the Stewards site, because some pieces are left out, which makes Valor 1 look bad. For all of us who know & love Valor 1 knows he is a hard worker, protector, & cares for his entire family.
First of all, in 2012, Valor 1 became Hope's mate. As you can see from the first picture I found on Hancock Wildlife, he was 4 years old & most likely not mentally mature enough to be a father. He didn't seem to understand or know what was required of him (for those who watch the West End Cam, he was a lot like Akecheta last season, but Valor 1's eggs hatched). V1 was most likely in it for the sex, like a human teenager. Lol He did not know or understand he needed to provide food for the eaglets. Both eaglets died when they were three days old.
The next season Hope decided she wasn't going to have another season like the previous, so she dumped Valor 1 & took Valor 2 as a mate. As you can see in the first pic again, Valor 2 was either 4 years old or approaching 5 years old. But Valor 1 wouldn't leave. I think he watched what was happening, even following them to their new nest area. I think he helped them build their new nest & was helping guard the area & providing food. Whatever he was doing, he had to be doing a lot for both Hope & Valor 2 to accept him. He definitely was making their lives easier by contributing. Two eaglets were successfully raised that year. They do not know exactly what year Valor 1 became a true part, forming the Trio, but Hope mating with both of the Valors was finally observed, when cams went on, in 2016. You have to remember both Valors were young, so it was probably easy to become accepting of each other. Valor 1 made Valor 2's life easier with helping with all the work. And Valor 1 got Hope back, but also had someone helping him.
In 2017, another eagle nest fell during nesting season. Those two eagles from that nest were in a rush to find a nest before nesting season ended, so they could lay eggs. It was already March, with the season of laying eggs ending typically at the end of March. They decided they wanted the Trio nest, despite the Trio already having two 2 week old eaglets on the nest. One of the Valors fought the male, while the other guarded the babies & nest. Hope fought the female. Hope walked away from the fight, never to be seen again.
There was a search around the nest for Hope, but it was keeping the Valors away from the nest on 2 different rainy days. The eaglets needed their dads, since they no longer had their mom, so they gave up on the search (the area below the nest floods quite a bit, also). The Valors had to fight intruders quite a bit. When they finally got rid of the couple wanting the nest, other intruders kept coming. I think they kept coming for two reasons. There were times one of the Valors would be gone 2 or 3 minutes & come back with food with an intruder following. Some of us think at times they were stealing food, so they could get back to the nest more quickly. If that was the case, the other eagle wanted the food back. But the Valors are also excellent hunters, too. There was something else that may have attracted the intruders. The Valors also brought in a lot of coot...in fact they survived a lot on coot that season, because that was the quickest, easiest thing to get. Sometimes it appeared they were competing with each other on who could bring in the biggest or best food. There was a lot of food & scraps on the nest. Their eaglets always had large crops. But that nest definitely looked like a bachelors' nest with all that food laying around. All that food was attracting other eagles, who were wanting to steal the food. Eagles tend to think it is easier to steal than to fish.
The Valors worked as an awesome team, like they were psychically connected, when fighting off intruders. They really developed a strong bond between them. We were worried they would each find their own female & fight over the nest. But luckily Starr came along & accepted both of them. The bond remains strong with the Valors. During the 2019 season, right before the 3rd egg hatched, Valor 2 had some sort of injury that caused him to limp a lot & the area around his eyes turned dark. He had brought in a catfish. A lady, who knows a lot about fish, told me she saw him step on one of the barbs. The barbs contain poisons, which can be released when the bard goes into someone. Both Valors love their babies & want to be with them. But Valor 1 gave up all of his brooding time, so Valor 2 could rest, while brooding the eaglets. Valor 1 also provided enough food to feed the whole family of 6. He continued to provide over 90% of the food for the rest of the season, where all had nice size crops. One day, when V2 was brooding the eaglets, soon after the accident, V1 came in with a stick. We all know what male eagles are like with a big, wonky stick. V2 kept getting hit in the head with it. He finally got up & left. V1 didn't realiz he left. When he turned around & saw the eaglets by themselves, he checked on them to make sure they were ok, then he called V2 back. After he saw V2 settled back over the eaglets, he left. That shows you what kind of bond is between the Valors.
Some of my favorite moments with the Valors are when the eggs are being brooded. Sometimes, when one Valor is brooding, the other lays right next to him. It reminds me of that season when they worked so hard to raise their eaglets together.
Sometimes I think the bond is stronger between the Valors than the one with Starr & I feel she gets a little left out. I have read people writing saying she is mean. But I think she is one of the sweetest eagles around. I am hoping building a nest from scratch together will strengthen their bond with Starr as strong as what they have with each other. I hope this helps you understand the Valors from the Trio nest better.
By Joan Dice - October 17, 2020
“Eagles: When they walk, they stumble. They are not what one would call graceful. They were not designed to walk. They fly. And when they fly, oh, how they fly, so free, so graceful. They see from the sky what we never see.” – Unknown