Bald Eagles are a common sight here in Red Wing. The city features “Eagle Spot” weekends in February and March when hundreds of visitors flock to Colvill Park to to watch vista of scores of the birds feed in the Mississippi near the nuclear power plant. Eagles are drawn to the Red Wing area by a lack of ice and abundant food supplies, most notably the gizzard shad. These large gatherings of bald eagles are an especially valuable opportunity for young birds who get a chance to improve their skills by watching experienced birds fish.
Bald Eagles typically prefer to live near lakes, seacoasts, rivers, and other large bodies of open water where they can fish. Studies They require stands of old-growth or mature trees to roost and nest in. Locally, over 2,800 acres of forest marshes, bottomland and floodplain along the Mississippi, Vermillion and Cannon rivers provide excellent habitat and populations are steadily increasing. The most recent information I could find said that there are currently 872 bald eagle nests in Minnesota, including two dozen nests along the Mississippi River from the Twin Cities to Lake Pepin.
Nesting eagle typically begin incubating their eggs in early March. So, nesting season has started and the birds are now migrating north or spreading out into their own territories. Except in winter, when supplies are scarce, Eagles are territorial, they don’t like to share.
We’ve seen Bald Eagles flying over our place on a regular basis for the last week. Several times a day I look up (if I’m outside) or out the window (if I’m inside) to see an unmistakable visitor.
According to information I found at ConservationMinnesota:
Cannon Valley trail manager Scott Roepke that eagles are back in the nest about 1 mile upstream of highway 61. During the last decade, nests, reported by an army of volunteer wildlife watchers, have appeared along the Mississippi to within a couple of miles of downtown St. Paul. Eagles have spread up the Minnesota River, where years ago they were never seen.
We’re about four miles away from this nest as the crow flies eagle soars. We’re also about four to five miles from the nearest marshes and small lakes along the Mississippi north of us – so I wonder if there’s a nest somewhere nearby.