The world-famous Decorah eagles, watched online by millions as they’ve hatched, suffered their first death over the weekend.

The eaglet known as D12, hatched March 27, was found dead Sunday morning at the foot of a utility pole near the nest at the intersection of Siewers Springs and Trout Run roads on the south end of Decorah. The cause of death was apparent electrocution, said Bob Anderson, executive director of the nonprofit Raptor Resource Project.

The death was announced on the project’s Facebook page. (More has been posted on the Decorah eagles Facebook page.) Coincidentally, this year’s livestream video of the Decorah eagles’ nest ended Saturday and will resume in November.

Alliant Energy workers Sunday added insulation to the utility pole to help prevent future eagle and raptor deaths at the site.

Sometimes eagles hit wires and don’t get hurt, Anderson said. But electrocutions are fairly common in our shared habitat — one or two raptor deaths each year in the Winneshiek/Decorah area.

“That big a wingspan, sometimes things go wrong,” Anderson said.

D12 was the first to die of the 14 famous eagles who have nested in Decorah. The bird won’t be buried.

“The carcass needs to be turned over to the Fish & Wildlife Service, sent to the National Eagle Repository,” Anderson said, and its “feathers distributed to the Indian community.”

The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service established the National Eagle Repository in Denver, Colo., in the early 1970s to provide the feathers of golden and bald eagles for Native American religious services.

While the remains of D12 are bound for Denver, another of the famous eagles affixed with a satellite transmitter, D1, the second-hatched bird in 2011, has strayed some 1,000 miles north to the Arctic.

D1 is currently in Polar Bear Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada, on the shores of Hudson Bay.

“She’s closer to Greenland than she is to Iowa right now,” Anderson said of D1.

This year’s last-hatched bird and D12’s sibling, D14, also has been outfitted with a transmitter and will be tracked.

R.I.P., D12 — a bird with a larger and broader viewership than many humans, perhaps excepting the long and storied TV career of actor Andy Griffith, whose death today at age 86 also made headlines. (Source)

Responses to "Electrocuted Decorah eagle’s feathers to be used in Native American religious services"

  1. This photo of an adult eagle is misleading. An eaglet has died; D12. Best to depict accurately.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I am glad to hear they are insulating the poles to prevent future occurrences and protections so this won't continue

  3. Anonymous says:

    Power companies should bury all new and existing power lines. Insulating poles may help with some of the loss of the raptures but what about the countless bears who also climb these poles and other wild life on the ground. These things radiate as well as electrocute. Stop any electrocution and cancerous radiation and bury these unhealthy structures.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Aww. So sad.

  5. Anonymous says:

    yes we need to bury these lines - they have become a tangle-town for birds

  6. The CapX2020 transmission lines across Minnesota River and Mississippi River aregoing to require eagle take permits, eagles will die. Thanks, Xcel! For more info about CapX transmission, see

  7. Anonymous says:

    The first photo of an eagle is Decorah's Mom.

  8. Anonymous says:

    sad, but at least the honorable thing is being done in giving the feathers to those who truly honor the EAGLE.

  9. Anonymous says:

    The first picture is indeed Mom Decorah...the wonderful mother of D12 the 2nd picture is of guarding her first egg this Spring, which would eventually be our beautiful D12. So it is a very appropriate picture to include with this article.
    God bless you little high and fly with the Angels

  10. Anonymous says:

    If there have been previous electrocutions before, why weren't prevention/intervention measures taken to prevent such loss?

  11. Anonymous says:

    Rest in peace my beautiful bird. I loved watching you.youll be missed.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I've been upset since hearing about D12. Now hearing his feathers will be honored forever is very comforting.

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