Cellphone video captures intense rescue of 2 bald eagles locked together on St. Croix River

Updated: July 08, 2019 10:23 PM

A half-dozen people, including the Washington County Sheriff's Office, helped rescue two bald eagles that plunged into the St. Croix River after their talons locked together during a mid-air battle Sunday.

Ann and Andy Kirn told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS they were boating and anchored in a bay along the St. Croix River when they saw the eagles locked in a mid-air battle and then suddenly fall into the river — still locked together.


"They were basically still yelling at each other and beating each other with their wings," said Andy Kirn.

"It was very emotional and very dramatic," said Ann Kirn. "We were hoping everything would turn out alright, and in the end it did, but it was intense at times."

The Kirns called the Washington County Sheriff's Office for help and one of their neighbors, Mike Zajac, who operates the Marine Landing restaurant along the St. Croix River.

"It was a very interesting day and not how I expected to end the day," said Zajac. "After we got the birds separated, one flew to higher ground but the injured one needed help, and after awhile we able to net it and get it to the U of M Raptor Center.

University of Minnesota Raptor Center Assistant Director Lori Arent told KSTP a Raptor Center volunteer joined the rescue efforts for the injured eagle. On Monday, she said the bird was doing better but has a long way to go.

"The eagle did have a lot of puncture wounds and will need some time to get better," said Arent. "If no one had come along, it is likely one of the two birds would not have survived."

Arent said the injured eagle was banded by a Twin Cities biologist and it is a 5-year-old female, which means it probably ventured into the hunting territory of an older, female eagle.

"The males usually fight the males and females will fight with other females," said Arent. "This is the time of year when they will fiercely protect their hunting territory because it is survival for them and any young eaglets they might have nesting right now."

If you find an injured raptor, especially after summer storms, you're encouraged to contact the U of M Raptor Center, which is open seven days a week, for assistance.

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Jay Kolls

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company


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