Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
A popular attraction for local residents of all ages has been lost.
People have stopped for years to watch the eagles in a nest along County Road 48 near Pearl Lake. School buses passing by would stop. But, after severe winds last week, the dead tree that supported the nest was blown over.
The next morning there were frantic calls to local DNR officer Brian Mies, and even to the Tri-County News. People were concerned that someone may have intentionally downed the tree.
Mies checked out the scene at around 7:30 the morning after and found that it was a natural tragedy, not a man-made one.
The adult eagle pair had made that tree and nest their home for many years; Mies couldn't remember how long it's been, it's been that many years. Each year they lay eggs, fish and hunt for their young, and raise their chicks to survive on their own.
This year the eagles had two young. Sadly, both eaglets perished from the fall, after being flung about 20 feet from where the tree fell.
Mies and his son Brad examined the area and found fish and skeletons among the sticks that had once made up the nest. It was Brad who took these great photos.
The adults survived the crash of their nest, as they were able to fly away. They circled the area afterward, in obvious distress. The pair will build a new nest this year, one that they will return to next spring. They will not lay eggs again this year.
Seeing an eagle nest so closely, even a broken one, is a rare event. Even rarer is seeing eaglets close-up. Because the temperature the night of the storm stayed down around 38 degrees, the eaglets were very well preserved.
Officer Mies was able to scoop them up and freeze them at home. He will turn them over to the DNR office in St. Paul. If possible, they can stuff the eaglets to use for teaching purposes. Mies explained that it is rare to find such well-preserved eaglets. He was also pleasantly surprised by their large size, about the size of small chickens, showing that they were healthy and thriving.