Last updated on 2/9/10

Duke Addicks’ Powerful Presentations have fascinated hundreds of audiences of adults and older children.

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About Duke Addicks

Native American Flute

Bagpipes used by Scottish fur traders and Native American Indian drums and flutes are often played by Duke as part of his storytelling.

Invite Duke to tell his stories at your group’s next meeting, special event, festival, campfire or outing.

Contact him at
(651) 643-0622
or by email at
dukeaddicks@earthlink.net

Themed Programs

Eagle and Thunderbird Legends and Lore

Pigs Eye Parrant

Tales of the Fur Trade

Two Grey Cloud Women

References

Publications

Read about Duke's eagle-watching in the Park Bugle
html   pdf

Links

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

Directions to
Keller Lake

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.

Watching Wild Eagles
in the Twin Cities Area

Bald Eagle Timetable —
Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul region)

This region 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.

January

Courtship 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.

February

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.

 

 

Sometimes 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

First week in March

Mating in the nest occurs.

March 7-14

Laying 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 by.

About April 14-20

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.

Early May

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

Early June

Young eagles on the edge of the nest flapping wings. They become fully grown at 10 to 12 weeks.

Third 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.

August

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 region.

Small pets in areas near nests disappear.

October--March

Eagles 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 areas.

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 them:

  • don’t get so close that both adults are frightened and leave the area — keep more than a hundred yards away
  • leave 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 eagle’s 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. Paul.

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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), Micawberr’s 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 children.