Decorah Eagle Search Comes Up Empty

DECORAH, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- For several days, people across the state have been wondering what happened to one of the famous Decorah eagles.

Earlier this month three Decorah Eaglets hatched. Recently their dad vanished.

"It's just really a tough thing to deal with thinking about not having Dad Decorah here," Director of the Raptor Resource Project, John Howe said.

Howe says it's not normal for an eagle to vanish.

It happened after a big snowstorm last week. Howe says they don't know if that was the cause, or if another eagle chased the dad out of the area.

"That night was the last time that we saw Dad Decorah," Howe said, "he left, and typically the male will leave in the evening for taking his roost for the night and we never saw him after that."

More than 20 people were searching for the eagle on Friday, Saturday, and part of Sunday. Among the people searching was the Decorah Fire Department Search & Rescue Team.

He said the searchers looked in normal roost and perch areas that the dad often visited, as well as highways and focus points, but no sign of him has been found.

They didn't find him, and aren't planning on searching anymore.

A new male eagle has moved in the area, but the mom eagle hasn't let him close to the eaglets.

The researchers are now turning their eyes on the mom. Hoping she will be able to hold her own and take care of the three eaglets.

"We've been watching her since last Thursday morning after that snowstorm, and even before that just doing an awesome job as far as bringing food and prey up into the nest," Howe said.

Howe says that even though it's upsetting, it's providing a valuable learning experience to the researchers and the many watching online every day.