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About Duke Addicks
Native American Flute
used by Scottish fur traders and Native American Indian
drums and flutes are often played by Duke as part of
Duke to tell his stories at your groups next meeting, special
event, festival, campfire or outing.
or by email at
Eagle and Thunderbird Legends and Lore
Pigs Eye Parrant
of the Fur Trade
Two Grey Cloud Women
Read about Duke's eagle-watching
in the Park Bugle
For more information about storytelling and storytellers: visit Northstar Storytelling League and Northlands Storytelling Network
Friends of the Minnesota Valley
Friends of the Mississippi River
Friends of the Upper Mississippi River Refuges
More Upper Mississippi River information
From Highway 61 turn west at the first set of stoplights
north of Highway 36, onto County Road C. Go west to the lake
and turn south (left) at the T onto Keller Lake Parkway. Follow
the Parkway to a stop sign and go left and park in the Spoon
Lake fishing area parking lot. Walk east fifty yards along the
lakeshore to the viewing station.
in the Twin Cities Area
Bald Eagle Timetable —
Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St.
is at 45 degrees, almost exactly halfway between the
North Pole and the Equator. Dates would be later farther north,
earlier to the south. Bald Eagles are found in North America
only roughly above the Mexican border. This timetable is
based on the observations of Duke
Addicks and conversations
with others who have been observing eagles in this area.
See references below.
flight, where the pair of eagles fly up high
into the sky, grab talons and descend in a corkscrew fashion
until almost hitting the ground then rise up over and over
again often a dozen times. Pair appears to bond to the
nest site/area and to each other, but if one dies survivor
will take another mate. Neither leave the nesting area
for long unless forced to seek food elsewhere.
Eagles build and
add to their nest each
year until the tree falls due to weight. There were
1,500 active eagle nests in Minnesota and 800 in Wisconsin
in 2007. Sometimes more than one nest is built but not
used — the purpose of additional nests is unclear.
a nest becomes so large it weighs almost a ton, and will
eventually pull down the tree. This nest near Lake Magor,
Wis., fell during a windstorm in 1997. When a nest falls,
the pair of eagles will build a new nest close by. They
bond to the area, and to each other. Photo by Cathy Galgardi
Mating in the nest occurs.
1 to 4, most often 2 or 3 eggs. Both the female and male incubate and turn eggs, so usually
one eagle is on the nest and the other perched close
Eggs hatch about
35 days after being laid. Observe adults looking down
into the nest. There are usually two chicks, or sometimes
three. A new chick weighs 3 oz., and grows to ten pounds
in twelve weeks. The female flies away to find her own
fish when the male brings fish to the young. He perches
in a nearby branch only a yard or so away while they
eat, and while the female leaves the nest to find her
own food. Adults tear apart food for the chicks for the
first 6 to 8 weeks. Father eagle does most of the fishing,
and needs to catch at lease a pound a day for himself
and for each chick.
||Mother eagle and two young eagles
about four weeks old in the Keller Lake nest, during
the second week in May. Photo by Tom Klein.
||Father eagle bringing home a
fish for the young eagles to fight over. Eagles
can carry up to about half their body weight for
a very short distance. Photo by Tom Klein.
Young eagles can
be seen in the nest when eating, looking
around, and flapping their wings.
Two young eagles were spotted in the Keller Lake nest on
April 30, 2008. Photo by Tom Klein
Young eagles on
the edge of the nest flapping wings.
They become fully grown at 10 to 12 weeks.
week of July, usually the 18th
Fledging — when young eagles fly away from the nest,
if even a few yards. Sometimes, the parents leave
and fly away until the young eagles leave the nesting
area to survive on their own. Sometimes, one of the young
eagles dies before fledging, from lack of food and attacks
by its sibling.
Young eagles leave
their nesting area and often the region, and are all gone from their nest
site by eight weeks after fledging. They follow the rivers
throughout the country for the next four years. More
than half die within one year after leaving the nest
because they can’t
learn how to survive.
When they become mature at age
4 or 5, they return to the area of their home nest to
find a mate and build their own nest. So five years from
2010, or in 2015, around 2,000 mature eagles will return
to Minnesota and Wisconsin to raise families in this
in areas near nests disappear.
begin arriving in the Twin Cities from the frozen
north, many going farther south along the Mississippi.
2000 of them will overwinter in the Upper Mississippi Fish
and Wildlife Refuge (from Wabasha to Dubuque). They go
just far enough south along the river to find food in unfrozen
Resident male eagles
and sometimes females can often be seen perched near
a nest to indicate to other eagles that this area is
theirs, and that other migrating eagles shouldn’t
fish in their pool or nest nearby.
Remember to respect the eagles when you are watching
- don’t get so close that both adults
are frightened and leave the area — keep more than a hundred
feathers where you find them — it is illegal to possess
eagle feathers or the feathers of any raptor
Some places where there are eagle nests in the Twin Cities area:
- Keller Lake, Maplewood,
Minn. Directions Duke may be at
this location with a spotting scope from about one-and-a-half
hours before sunset to sunset, April through September.
Call Duke first if you want to make sure he will be there. Scout
groups are especially welcome, as Duke is an eagle scout and former
cub master, scoutmaster, explorer/venture crew advisor, etc.
- Below the Visitor Center, Minnesota Valley
National Wildlife Refuge, Bloomington MN. Just follow the trail
to the road then turn left and go across the creek. The
nest is in the tree across the marsh. About a half mile
walk one way.
- Minnesota River across from Black Dog power
plant, view the nest
from Black Dog Road, (line up two speed limit signs on
road just east of power plant and look across river to the north).
- In the Mississippi River gorge between Franklin Avenue and where
it joins the Minnesota River at Fort Snelling. There are
trails along both sides of the river.
- Mississippi River on
Pig’s Eye Lake
area of Grey Cloud Island, across from South St. Paul.
Eagles can be seen from the wonderful blacktopped Riverfront
Trail which runs along the West side of the Mississippi
River. The trail begins at the Kaposia Park trailhead
on Concord Street (bridge to the trail currently closed
for construction), in South St. Paul, and runs South
alongside the Mississippi to the I-494 bridge. There
is a walkway/bikeway up to the trail where Grand Avenue
ends at Hardman Avenue (turn East on Grand from Concord
and go a block and a half).
- White Bear Lake on Manitou Island
Some places to Watch
for Eagles in Winter in and near the Twin Cities:
The following are
good places to see eagles year-round, but there will be
a higher concentration of eagles in October
through March because many eagles come this far south to
fish during the winter when the lakes and rivers near their
nests in northern Minnesota and Canada freeze.
- Inside: The Raptor
Center, University of Minnesota
St. Paul Campus.
- Minnesota River along Black Dog Road in
Burnsville between Cedar Avenue and I-35W.
- Along Highway 61 as
it follows the Mississippi south of St. Paul at the following
locations: Hastings Lock and Dam; Colvill Park in Red Wing
below the power plant; the road leading to Treasure Island
Casino; Reads Landing along the Mississippi; the new National
Eagle Center building in Wabasha, Minn., 80 miles from St.
For more information:
Addicks, Duke. Native American
Eagle Tales. Audio
CD. 2007: Falcon Heights, Minn. Upper Mississippi Mdewakanton
Indian Community. Available at the bookstore at the Raptor
Center, National Eagle Center, Wild Bird Store (Highland),
Books (St. Anthony Park). These are authentic Native American
Eagle Tales retold by master storyteller Duke Addicks for
adults and older children. Not Indian produced as defined by 25 USC 305 et seq.
Tekila, Stan. Majestic Eagles: Compelling
facts and images of the Bald Eagle. 2007: Cambridge, Minn.,
Adventure Publications. Available in most bookstores. This
is by far the best general book about bald eagles for adults and older