Stories tagged bald eagle

Today, the Department of the Interior will officially remove the bald eagle from the endangered species list. After four decades of protection, this national symbol is thriving.

Jun
04
2007

City/wildlife loser: A bald eagle. It was killed after colliding with a helicopter 2,000 feet in the air. (Photo from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
City/wildlife loser: A bald eagle. It was killed after colliding with a helicopter 2,000 feet in the air. (Photo from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)
A couple of interesting encounters were noted in the Twin Cities media this past week noting the intersection of city life and wildlife.

First the bad news: a bald eagle was killed Sunday after it collided in mid-air with a helicopter that was going an estimated 80 miles per hour over Shakopee, Minn. Flying at 2,000 feet, the eagle smashed through the helicopter’s windshield and smacked into the chest of the helicopter’s passenger. It then fell to the floor of the two-person chopper and died. The woman passenger suffered cuts and bruises that need to be treated at a local hospital.

Even with a hole in the windshield, the helicopter pilot was able to land his craft safely.

The impact from the encounter with the bald eagle shattered the windshield on the helicopter at 2000 feet. Amazingly, the pilot was able to land the aircraft safely

Now here’s some news where the wildlife came out on top.

City/wildlife winner: A muskie in Lake Calhoun. The lunker fish nibbled on the ankle of a 9-year-old swimmer, drawing blood and chasing the boy from the lake. (Photo from the Minnesota DNR)
City/wildlife winner: A muskie in Lake Calhoun. The lunker fish nibbled on the ankle of a 9-year-old swimmer, drawing blood and chasing the boy from the lake. (Photo from the Minnesota DNR)
On Memorial Day, a 9-year-old Minneapolis boy was swimming at Lake Calhoun, a popular swimming spot in the heart of the city. But he’s never going back there again.

(Cue the “Jaws” music.)

While he was swimming, a lunker muskie mistook his ankle for that day’s lunch. He came out of the lake with blood gushing from his ankle. There was an inch-long incision and three teeth marks around the wound.

But don’t worry, fish attacks of that kind are pretty rare. The last reported case of a similar fish bit episode in the Twin Cities was in 1995, when a 13-pound, three-foot-long muskie bit a girl swimming in Lake Rebecca. That fish was later caught in a trap and moved to another lake.

Feb
19
2007

Bald eagle: Photo US Geologic Survey
Bald eagle: Photo US Geologic Survey

Ed Contoski has a problem. He wants to sell some of his land in central Minnesota. But a pair of bald eagles are nesting there. The eagles are listed as endangered species by the Fish and Wildlife Service, so the land cannot be developed. Which means no one's going to want to buy it.

The thing is, the bald eagle has recovered pretty nicely in the wild. In the last 40 years, the population has grown from under 500 nesting pairs to over 9,000. President Clinton asked the Fish and Wildlife Service to de-list the eagle in 1999, but they never got around to it. Contoski sued, and the judge ordered FWS to de-list the eagle by February 16, 2007. Recently, FWS asked for more time, and the judge extended the deadline to June 29.

Some people think that FWS, under pressure from environmental groups, is using the Endangered Species Act to stop development, and unfairly deprive a citizen of the use of his land. Others say a decision this important should not be rushed. What do you think? Leave a comment.

This afternoon I saw a bald eagle circling over Irvine Park, just to the west of the museum. We're lucky: we see eagles a lot here in Minnesota and along the museum's stretch of the Mississippi River. Have you seen any eagles this winter? When and where?

Mar
22
2005

Word around the museum is that, if you're lucky and looking out the Mississippi River Gallery's big windows (Level 5) at the right time, you might see one of two bald eagles that have been hanging out along our stretch of the river.

Once an endangered species, bald eagles have made a spectacular comeback since the pesticide DDT was banned in the United States in 1972. In our area, eagles are becoming common sightings. Each year, the Mississippi River Valley becomes a "highway" for eagles traveling from the northern summer homes to their southern winter homes. But many eagles spend all year here in Minnesota. In fact, Minnesota and Wisconsin are home to the largest nesting population of bald eagles in the United States outside of Alaska.

Mornings and evenings, you might see eagles soaring on thermals or diving for fish, their primary food. During the day, you're likely to see them perched in large trees near the river's edge.

How can you identify a bald eagle? Well, they're big, with wingspans of up to 7 1/2 feet. You'll often see them soaring or gliding with flat wings. When they do flap, wingbeats are slow and powerful. You usually see them near open water. And adult eagles have brown bodies with white heads and tails. For more tips, Visit the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Where to see eagles during the winter

Where to see eagles in Red Wing

Where to see eagles in Wabasha

Find out about where you can see eagles during the summer, complete with map.

A cool site with lots of questions and answers about bald eagles.

The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota provides medical care for sick and injured birds of prey, including eagles.