This bald eagle was rescued in a cattle lot near Coggon, Iowa by Wildthunder WARS, in late August. This hatch-year 2021 male was covered in mud and ‘what you’d find’ near cattle! Coggon was released on 5 November 2022 near the Decorah Trout Hatchery. Zoom-zoom! The eagle never looked back.
The eagle was rehabilitated by SOAR – Saving Our Avian Resources and released in honor of Willard Holtaus’ love of the Decorah Eagles and years of service sharing them with the world.
From Raptor Resource Project post from 4 October 2022: Willard became an eagle lover after the Decorah Eagles built a nest in the cottonwood above his garage. One of the highlights of his later years along Trout Run Creek was watching and learning about them. Cinematographer and natural history film producer Neil Rettig began filming ‘American Eagle’ in 2007 and needed to find an eagle’s nest. RRP founder Bob Anderson told him there was one in Decorah, unexpectedly near a woodshed and very, very easy to access and film. The two started filming from the famous white barn in the background but quickly secured permission from Willard to put cameras in the nest, beginning the Decorah Eagles story. Willard and his wife Mary Ellen loved serving as caretakers of the Decorah Eagles and always had detailed stories to share every time they saw us working in the garage that we call command central. Willard frequently flagged us down to tell us about the eagles and swap stories about what was going on while we were gone or outside the watchful lenses of our eagle cams. His enthusiasm, cheerfulness, and support for the bald eagle live cam will be greatly missed.