On June 7th 2015, Bridges kicked off our third “Creating Pathways to Nature” event as part of a collaboration with the Milton R Owen Nature Center. The Foundation for the Enhancement of Mitchell County (FEMC) generously funds all seven of our events we are offering for mentors and their mentees.
Our third event took place at the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, MN and to Lark Toys in Kellogg, MN. The National Eagle Center is a world-class interpretive center located on the banks of the Mississippi River. They are home to five rescued eagles, four bald eagles and one golden eagle. During this visit we were able to experience these magnificent creatures up close.
Upon arrival we checked in and received a sticker stating that we had access to the center all day long. We were able to explore the two floors of displays and exhibits, view wild eagles from the observation deck and visit the gift store.
Many of our mentee’s stated that the best part was viewing the 4 live eagles that they had on their observation deck. One of the bald eagles spotted another eagle outside of the building and was very territorial by making their territory call. It startled a few people as it was loud and took people by shock how they communicate to the outside world since they are in captivity for their safety. Many of our mentors favorite eagle was the golden eagle Donald. Donald had to be sat on the same perch each day as he does not like change or looking out the window. It gets him nervous and agitated. He has a glossy color and was absolutely beautiful.
At 11:00a.m. we attended a live eagle program with our Naturalist Educator and Avian Care Specialist Jennifer. Have you ever wondered” How much does an eagle weigh?” “How Big is their wingspan?” The answers were given during the program as we were engaged through hands on interaction shared biology, ecology and natural history of bald and golden eagles.
During the live eagle program we had the honor of meeting one of the bald eagles Angel. Angel came to the National Eagle Center in 2000. She has been found on the ground with a broken wing in Wisconsin. She was just fledging and had been surviving on scraps of fish from nearby herons nests. Angel was the eagle that had a loud vocations on the observation deck as she heard some wild eagle’s pass by the windows of the eagle center. During this live program, viewers were able to watch her eat. She was fed a dead rat. Some of our participants were a little queasy by the end of the program. Our naturalist stated that bald eagles do not like the taste of fur. So as they are eating they will pick apart their food and spit the fur out. They could spit the fur as far as to the back of the room if they were startled or something they didn’t like caught their attention. The naturalist also described migration and that many eagles migrate back and forth between their numerous nests. They do not have a long term mate, many people believe this to be true. They prefer to return home to their favorite survival nests. If you have never been to the eagle center you definitely should attend a live program as you will learn many things you never thought were possible.
Interesting facts learned at the center.
- The average wingspan of an eagle ranges from 6-7.5 ft.
- How much does a bald eagle weigh? Weight varies depending on latitude and gender. Generally males weigh approximately 25% less than females from the same area. The average weigt of a female bald eagle is 10-14ibs Southern bald eagles tend to be smaller than those in northern parts of their range. For example in Alaska, females might weight up to 18ibs, wheras eagles in Florida can weight as little as 6-8ibs.
- Why is the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, MN? Wabasha has long been a wintering area for bald eagles. The Mississippi River remains open year round due to the fast current in the area. Many eagles migrate here for the winter to take advantage of open water and abundant food resources.
- What are the leading causes of eagle mortality? Eaglets in the nest may die from falls, starvation or sibicide. About 50% of eaglets will not reach one year of age. Once fledged, many eagles die from impact injuries, starvation, disease and lead poisoning.
- How many feathers does an eagle have? An eagle has over 7,000 feathers.
- How much can a bald eagle carry? A bald eagle can carry about 1/3 its body weight. Eagles are powerful predators that can catch and kill prey many times their own size. However, they are unable to fly carrying more than just a few pounds.
Again we were super blessed to have such a great turn out for this trip. Stay tuned for our second blog post on our second half of our trip to Lark Toys, in Kellogg, MN.
Just this month, we’ve received many inquiries from people who were interested in learning more about becoming a mentor. Every match makes a huge difference in encouraging healthy youth development in Mitchell County. We’re happy to meet with anyone who’d like to learn more about mentoring, from families to prospective volunteers. Contact our Program Coordinator Lacey for more information.