Highlights of HY eaglets

SOAR is not new to providing rehabilitation to hatch-of-the-year bald eagles. Nor is SOAR new to providing rehabilitation to bald eagles – SOAR has 25 years of experience.

Between 2012 and 2023, SOAR admitted 89 hatch-of-the-year eaglets. The earliest time was April 17, with many being admitted when the young eagles would be considered nestlings / hatchlings or branchers — young that were still relying on the adults for food and care. Fledglings have also been admitted in the second half of the year as these “teenage” eagles spread their wings and travel away from their nest tree.

Below are the stories of a few of these hatch-year admits, noting their admit date, and outcome.

Dolliver State Park eaglet – 17 April 2012, Released

The thunderstorms / high winds over the weekend of 14-15 April took down an eagle nest in Dolliver State Park (SE of Fort Dodge). According to personal communication with the Des Moines National Weather Service office, there were thunderstorms in the area the evening of the 14th into the early hours of the 15th, with winds gusting to 38 mph. However, Webster County was under a High Wind Warning on Sunday the 15th. A high wind warning means that winds are long-lasting and greater than 40 mph.

A park user came upon the downed nest on the 17th and notified park staff. After a few phone calls the park staff were in contact with SOAR.
eaglet admit

After consulting with Raptor Resource Project and The Raptor Center, we learned that unlike some other raptors, eagles will not accept a replacement nest once nesting and rearing activities are in full-swing. Adult eagles may feed a brancher on the ground, but would not feed a young eagle the size these likely were.

With that knowledge, Kay asked park staff to look for any surviving eaglets and would make arrangements to get the young’un to SOAR. With a “rescue kit” just in case any of the eaglets were still alive, park staff found the nest debris and one eaglet still alive and two eaglets that did not survive.

For now, the eagle is at SOAR until a better and more natural solution can be found / determined.

The help of Dolliver State Park staff is greatly appreciated!

juv eagle


Jasper Co Eaglet – 2 June 2013, Released

juvenile eagle rescueJasper County eagle nest watchers reported that the nest had collapsed in the wildlife area north of Rock Creek State Park and an eaglet needed rescuing. SOAR friend Marla got the call late Saturday evening and prepared for a daytime rescue with her friend John and his kayak!

One eaglet died in the collapse and the other eaglet was rescued and transported to Des Moines where it was picked up by SOAR.



Decorah Eaglet – 22 June 2014, Now an education bird

Bob Anderson of Raptor Resource Project was at the Decorah Trout Hatchery on the 22nd and received word that an eaglet was downed in the trout stream nearby. Bob waded through the stream and was able to rescue the eaglet and determined it had a broken right wing. A SOAR volunteer transporter just happened to be in Decorah and brought the eaglet back to central Iowa to meet up with Kay. At the time of rescue, all were confident it was one of the eaglets from the Decorah cam nest, but unsure which one!

You’ve heard the saying, “It takes a village…” haven’t you? There have been several volunteers involved in the rescue, transport, and care of this eagle. There is also a village of supporters, locally and in cyberspace (i.e. some we know by name and sight and others we do not yet know), that care deeply about this eaglet. We thank each and every one of you!

Decorah FAQ 2023

D33, DN9, Allamakee, and Calmar – 5-12 June 2019, Released

2019 was the summer of the blackfly in Northeast Iowa. These hatch-year 2019 (HY19) bald eagles were admitted separately, but soon were on the same rehabilitation plan.

D33 was admitted 5 June 2019 – This HY19 bald eagle is from the nest near the Decorah Fish Hatchery with the Raptor Resource Project (RRP) nest camera tumbled to the ground under the nest on 5 June. Hatchery staff were alerted and the juvenile was safely retrieved and taken to the hatchery before this eaglet began the journey to SOAR for evaluation and any needed treatment. During transfer to SOAR, Executive Director Kay Neumann noted the eaglet had numerous bites near the eyes and nostrils (nares) and on the back of the head from buffalo gnats (AKA blackfly).

DN9 was admitted 7 June 2019 – DN9 is from the Decorah North Nest with the Raptor Resource Project (RRP) nest camera fell to the ground under the nest on 6 June. RRP board member, Dave K, was able to locate and rescue this eaglet on 7 June and was transported to SOAR the same day. During transfer, Kay noted that this eaglet had numerous bites near the eyes and nostrils (nares), on the back of the head, and the skin on the throat below the lower beak was raw from buffalo gnats (AKA blackfly). This young eagle is emaciated, anemic, and dehydrated.

Allamakee was admitted 8 June 2019 – This Allamakee HY19 eaglet shared a similar reason for admit with D33 and DN9, he was found on the ground unable to fly. This HY19 bald eagle was initially treated by RRP board member and veterinarian, Laura. Dr Laura noted that this eaglet was thin, weak, and had blackfly bites around the eyes.

Calmar was admitted 12 June 2019 – A landowner called and reported that a juvenile bald eagle that has been down in the his cow pasture for a few days. This eaglet’s nest overhangs the cow pasture. Brian M from the Decorah Fish Hatchery went to the farm and got this juvenile in hand. Brian reported fly bites around the eyes and that this juvenile was “not acting eagly.” Kay noted at transfer that Calmar was thin, had stringy saliva (indicating dehydration), and that he had fly bites around his eyes and the back of his head.

20x60 flight

23 July 2019 moving day to the 20×60′ flight pen. DN9 on high perch, D33 on low perch, and Allamakee and Calmar still on the ground.













Bald eagles Dawson 1, Dawson 2 – 8 June 2020, Released

SOAR volunteer Deb was taken upriver to check on two downed eagles by the anglers that came upon them.

Deb learned the riverbank eroded and the nest tree collapsed into the river. The eaglets were standing on pieces of floating tree trunk.

Even with adults present, the decision to rescue included:
** There was no way to get eaglets to a safe spot or makeshift nest.
** There was no spot for parents to provide food, no evidence of having been fed at that spot, likely why eaglets were thin.
** Rain was forecast for the next two days that would raise water levels, the eaglets would not have survived.
** The eaglets’ feathers are still in sheaths.

four hatch-year 2020 bald eagles

Four hatch-year 2020 bald eagles in the 20’x60′ flight pen to refine flight and landing skills in preparation for release. In this pen are Dawson 1 (male, the shortest of them), Dawson 2 (female), Sioux (female), and Parkersburg (female).

















Hubbard – 10 August 2022, Released

Several concerned citizens in Hubbard, Iowa, noticed a bald eagle needed help and made phone calls to SOAR and to other individuals — noting a young bald eagle was sitting on the road, sitting on the edge of the road, and on the edge of a cornfield near town. The eagle could walk and run, but no one saw it attempt to take flight. A conservation staff member drove there, but could not find the young eagle. The dark feathers of a juvenile bald eagle do make them hard to see in an August cornfield or a grassy ditch. Another call came in later the same day, this person was able to find the bald eagle for a SOAR volunteer to pick up. This hatch-year 2022 eagle simply didn’t have enough weight, stamina, nor conditioning to fly.