North Shore chef comes to the rescue when eagle jumps on woman

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Minnesota has wonderful wildlife, but it’s called "wild" for a reason.

A young bald eagle caused quite a commotion Thursday outside the Cascade Lodge and Restaurant in Lutsen. Eagles are common on the North Shore of Lake Superior, but rarely do you get close.

The eagle was first spotted Wednesday night outside the lodge, perched on a fireplace chimney by the shore. The eagle was still there Thursday morning, and when a woman approached to get a closer look, it jumped on her.

That’s when Chef Bernie Banks sprang into action.

"I worked in Alaska for a few years and ran across moose and bear," Banks said. "But I’ve never had to wrestle an eagle before!"

Banks is the kitchen manager at the Cascade Lodge. He just reacted when he saw the eagle on the woman with its talons around her leg.

"And that was a little concerning," Banks said. "I didn’t want it to cause any more injury to her and I really didn’t want to hurt the eagle. So I just had to wait until he let go a little bit and I just threw my shirt on him and pulled him off."

Banks put his chef’s coat over the eagle’s head, pulled it off the woman and let the bird go. The eagle ripped the coat to shreds.

"Yeah, he did. And it was my favorite chef’s coat," Banks said. "He messed it up. But it’s all good, it’s all good. That can be replaced."

The woman is OK and the young eagle actually stuck around for a time. It took a ride on top of the pickup truck of a Cook County Sheriff’s deputy. And then it jumped on the back of a Minnesota State Patrol squad car. Eventually, its curiosity satisfied, the eagle flew away.

Banks said it’s just part of life on the North Shore of Lake Superior.

"Never dull, never dull! I mean I didn’t expect that this morning, but you know, it ended good," he said.