Decorah eagle found dead near Iowa City

An eagle fledged at the Decorah Fish Hatchery nest last year has died. 
According to a release issued by the Raptor Resource Project (RRP) of Decorah, D35, a male eagle born in April 2020 was found dead near the Iowa River outside Iowa City on Friday, Jan. 29.  
RRP board member Brett Mandernack had been monitoring D35 with telemetry equipment when the signal from the bird’s transmitter indicated it was not moving. Mandernack, his wife Carole and Linette Bernard from Save Our Avian Resources (SOAR), conducted a search and found D35 buried in the snow. The young eagle had no visible wounds or trauma and appeared in otherwise good health. 
During a necropsy (an autopsy performed on an animal) performed by SOAR Director Kay Neumann, a lead pellet ingested by the bird was found in its stomach. Other lead particles were found and there were elevated levels of lead in the eagle’s liver and blood. 
Lead poisoning is a leading cause of mortality in eagles. The birds ingest lead as they feed on the carcasses and remains of animals and fish. Shotgun and rifle shells used by hunters are primarily composed of lead, as are sinkers used by fishermen. 
The RRR additionally reported that DNF (Decorah North Female) “laid her first egg Tuesday (Feb. 16) afternoon around 1:45 p.m. in the nest north of Decorah.” More details on the Decorah eagles are available at

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