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TALKIN WITH DOKKEN: Where are all the bald eagles?

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Q. I read your recent column about the bald eagle nest that blew down near East Grand Forks during a storm. Could you point me to a few other bald eagle nests in the area?

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A. A rarity just a few years ago, bald eagle nests are becoming more common throughout the Red River Valley and the region as the species continues to recover from near extinction. There likely are others, as well, but here are a handful of nests within about an hour’s drive of Grand Forks:

The remains of the East Grand Forks nest are located near the city sewage lagoon, which is accessible via River Road. A Google search will steer you in the right direction.

Mike Jacobs, retired Herald publisher who writes the weekly “Always in Season” bird column, says there also is a bald eagle nest at Fordville Dam near Fordville, N.D. The nest is in a shelterbelt along the south fence, Jacobs said.

“I haven’t been there in six weeks, but it was occupied early in the year,” he said.

Tim Driscoll, a Grand Forks birding and raptor expert, said he knows of a bald eagle nest west of Kellys Slough National Wildlife Refuge, but it’s on private land.

“I don’t even know if you can see it from the road,” Driscoll said. “I suspect it’s active, but the babies may be flying around.”

The site is accessible by traveling two miles west of the Kellys Slough turnoff road on U.S. Highway 2 and then driving 2½ miles north. The land is posted, Driscoll said.

Another good nest that’s easily visible from the road is located along the Angus-Oslo Impoundment No. 1 near Warren, Minn. The flood control impoundment is operated by the Middle-Snake-Tamarac Rivers Watershed District and has been there for several years.

For information on reaching the impoundment, check out the watershed district’s website at mstrwd.com or call the office in Warren at (218) 745-4741.

Spring and early summer generally offer the best opportunities for seeing young eagles on their nests.

“Most eaglets will have fledged by now so the chances of finding them on the nest are slim,” Jacobs said, adding the odds of seeing young eagles might be better near the nest.

Here are a few other bald eagle facts from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:

  •  Nests are sometimes used year after year and can weigh as much as 4,000 pounds.
  •  Bald eagles can live 30 years in the wild and even longer in captivity.
  •  Bald eagles pair for life but if one dies, the survivor will accept a new mate.
  •  Bald eagles don’t get their distinctive white head and tail until they reach maturity at age 4 or 5.

If you have a question for Talkin’ with Dokken, call (701) 780-1148 or send an email to bdokken@gfherald.com

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Brad Dokken
Brad Dokken is editor of the Herald's Northland Outdoors section and also works as a copy editor and page designer. Dokken joined the Herald company in November 1985 as a copy editor for Agweek magazine and joined the Herald staff in 1989. He worked as a copy editor in the features and news departments before becoming outdoors editor in 1998. He also writes a blog called Compass Points. A Roseau, Minn., native, Dokken is a graduate of Bemidji State University. 
(701) 780-1148
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