Eagles on the bluff

Spring in Minnesota means shoveling a foot of snow from the sidewalk in the morning and going for a hike without a jacket in the afternoon.  At least the snow melts faster than it does during the winter!

I visited Pine Bend Bluff Scientific and Natural Area along the Mississippi River the other day during a peak migration event and saw many eagles, hawks, and waterfowl moving up the river.

The high bluffs and wide expanse of the river make this SNA the perfect spot for watching bird migration.    Now that the river is ice-free, barge traffic resumes (the one on the left of the photo was moving sand upriver).

The high bluffs and wide expanse of the river make this SNA the perfect spot for watching bird migration. Now that the river is ice-free, barge traffic resumes (the one on the left of the photo was moving sand upriver).

The day was just heating up allowing the raptors to circle upward on the thermals rising over the river, and every now and then there were a few interactions of the eagles flying overhead.

Two eagles and a hawk glide effortlessly in circles on the rising thermal currents as air heats up in the morning.

Two eagles and a hawk glide effortlessly in circles on the rising thermal currents as air heats up in the morning.

Chatter between the eagles and an occasional dive toward another eagle or flying in tandem pairs meant there was more going on than just soaring around looking for a stray fish.  But no X-rated activity was observed on this morning.

bald eagles soaring

bald eagles

Feet extended, ready to grab another eagle?

Feet extended, ready to grab another eagle?

That amazing wingspread carries them long distances with minimal energy expenditure.

That amazing wingspread carries them long distances with minimal energy expenditure.

7 thoughts on “Eagles on the bluff

    • Thanks, Finn. This is a great time of year to photograph eagles because there are so many of them around, flying low over the river valleys.

  1. I love watching hawks and eagles soaring, though rarely do they come within range of my lenses. Your last two shots really highlight the beauty and majesty of these impressive birds.

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