National Eagle Center

National Eagle Center An educational interpretive center, home to live bald eagles.
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An educational interpretive center, home to live bald and golden eagles. "Connecting people to eagles in nature, history and cultures."

Mission: Connecting people to eagles in nature, history and cultures.

Operating as usual

EAGLE101: BACK TO THE SOLITARY LIFEIt's hard to believe that September has already arrived. Once again, summer has flown...
09/02/2020

EAGLE101: BACK TO THE SOLITARY LIFE

It's hard to believe that September has already arrived. Once again, summer has flown by and those nests that occupied our attention and provided us with so many fun moments are empty. The young have fledged and our on their own.

Nesting season is over.

The nesting pairs have split up for the offseason (though they may both stick around the general nest location) and are returned to their solitary lives, which is the bald eagle's nature. They don't sleep in the nest at night, they don't huddle up in groups. The bald eagle is a loner, staking out that favorite tree and fishing hole watching closely over all that sits below them. With no rearing responsibilities for several months, think of autumn as the bald eagle's vacation time, and keep your eyes peeled for bald eagles perched among the vibrant colors as you make those fall drives through the river valley. Photo by Kyle Beaton. 🦅😉👍

STOP IN FOR A VISIT OVER LABOR DAY WEEKEND!The unofficial end of summer is this weekend as we celebrate Labor Day, and t...
09/01/2020

STOP IN FOR A VISIT OVER LABOR DAY WEEKEND!

The unofficial end of summer is this weekend as we celebrate Labor Day, and the National Eagle Center will be OPEN on Monday! Bring your friends and family for a fun visit to Wabasha and the eagles. But you'd better make your reservations NOW - space is limited and we are selling out our weekend visitor sessions! Get all the details and reserve your spots online: bit.ly/37R8diz. 🦅😲😍👍

I SEE YOUWinter is THE time of the year for seeing large amounts of bald eagles with very little effort along the Upper ...
08/31/2020

I SEE YOU

Winter is THE time of the year for seeing large amounts of bald eagles with very little effort along the Upper Mississippi River. It is an eagle watcher's dream! Summer is a different story, with those pesky leaves often obscuring that great view and photo angle. In fact, the best place to be to see perching bald eagles is on a boat out on the river. But even though we often cannot see them, the trees have eyes, and they are watching everything. Photo by Kyle Beaton. 🦅😲😍👍

AMPLIFY YOUR SUPPORT THROUGH THE EAGLES' HOPE FUNDDear Friends of Eagles,Earlier this summer we shared a post concerning...
08/28/2020

AMPLIFY YOUR SUPPORT THROUGH THE EAGLES' HOPE FUND

Dear Friends of Eagles,

Earlier this summer we shared a post concerning the Eagles’ Hope Fund with an opportunity to amplify your on-going support of the eagles’ education and inspirational mission. We've been busy, engaging thousands of people around the world with our online Adventures in Eagle Territory series and producing custom videos for public libraries and summer learning programs. These programs demonstrate the heart and purpose of the Eagles’ Hope Fund, and they are just the beginning.

Your support makes it possible for us to truly make a difference in people’s lives. If you haven’t already made a contribution to the Eagles’ Hope Fund, please do consider an additional gift in any amount. Thank you for your support and helping us soar!

Sincerely,

Meg Gammage-Tucker, PhD, CFRE
CEO

DONATE: bit.ly/2YyzCAB 🦅😍👍

EAGLE101: DO EAGLES LIKE HOT WEATHER?We're currently in the midst of a late-August heatwave in the Upper Midwest. If you...
08/27/2020

EAGLE101: DO EAGLES LIKE HOT WEATHER?

We're currently in the midst of a late-August heatwave in the Upper Midwest. If you venture outside during the midday during hot weather, it's not uncommon that things are...quiet. Birds tend to find shade in a tree or shrub and lay low when the temps soar.

We were recently asked if bald eagles like hot weather? Well, they deal with it, just like we humans do, only they don't have air conditioning (unless you're the eagle ambassadors). During the summer months, it is not uncommon to see an eagle perched with its mouth open and tongue sticking out. Just like a dog, that eagle is panting to stay cool. They don't have sweat glands. And being water birds, a nice dip into a river or lake may also be on the agenda - an eagle-sized birdbath!

Here we see a photo of ambassador Angel outside on a warm July day, panting to keep cool. 🦅😀👍

PLANNING A FALL TRIP? THE EAGLES ARE A MUST SEE ALONG THE LAURA INGALLS WILDER TRAIL!The National Eagle Center is alread...
08/25/2020
9 Must-Visit Places Along The Laura Ingalls Wilder Trail

PLANNING A FALL TRIP? THE EAGLES ARE A MUST SEE ALONG THE LAURA INGALLS WILDER TRAIL!

The National Eagle Center is already one of the Best of the River Valley, now we're highlighted as one of the Best Stops Along the Laura Ingalls Wilder Trail by TravelAwaits! The trail stretches from De Smet, SD to Pepin, WI! Not only is fall a great time for a drive weather-wise, but the Upper Mississippi River Valley is one of the most picturesque regions for fall colors. Do miss out! 🦅🍁🍂😍👍

From the Ingalls Family Homestead in De Smet, South Dakota, to the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, Minnesota, these are the best stops on the Laura Ingalls Wilder Trail.

CLOSEOUT SUMMER WITH A VISIT? THE EAGLES WOULD LOVE TO SEE YOU!The summer season is winding down and Labor Day is right ...
08/25/2020

CLOSEOUT SUMMER WITH A VISIT? THE EAGLES WOULD LOVE TO SEE YOU!

The summer season is winding down and Labor Day is right around the corner! Haven't made a visit to the National Eagle Center yet this summer? There is still time! We are open each week Thursday thru Sunday, with visitor sessions each day at 10am, 12pm, 2pm, and 4pm. Space is limited to 50 visitors per session and pre-registration is required on our website. We're also going to be open to visitors on Monday, September 7th for Labor Day!

Plus, we are hosting a small group Guided Tour experience each Wednesday at 1pm! These tours for up to 20 people are a great way to discover or re-discover the exhibits, eagles, and Mississippi River at the National Eagle Center.

Closeout summer with the eagles! Angel, Columbia, Latsch, and Was'aka would love to see you! Learn more and register: bit.ly/37R8diz. 🦅😍👍

THE SCOOP ON "BLONDE" BALD EAGLESWild bald eagles are always a majestic sight! Those distinct white head and tails contr...
08/20/2020

THE SCOOP ON "BLONDE" BALD EAGLES

Wild bald eagles are always a majestic sight! Those distinct white head and tails contrasted on a dark brown body make ID pretty straight forward... most of the time. But like with so many other things out in the world, there is diversity and it frequently results in people wondering, what am I seeing?

One of the most common (and exciting!) sights is what people often describe as a "blonde" bald eagle. They still have a defined white head and tail, but the rest of the feathers have a much lighter hue than normal. These are known as "leucistic" eagles. Leucism is a term that describes a variety of conditions that result in a partial loss of pigmentation in animals. It is different than albinism, wherein the entire animal is white and the eyes are pink. It is not uncommon to see birds that have partial leucism with one or a few white feathers that appear out of place.

Of course, seeing a leucistic eagle can create a lot of confusion for the casual observer. Is it a bald eagle or some other species entirely? With as much variety among birds and raptors as already exists, the confusion is totally understandable. But, if you see one of these eagles among other bald eagles, keep leucism in mind. That is probably what you are observing. 🦅😲😍 Photo by Larry Turner.

08/20/2020
ICYMI: BALD EAGLE TAKES DOWN DRONE OVER LAKE MICHIGAN These masters of the sky are very territorial, and even drones are...
08/19/2020
Bald eagle shows air superiority, sends drone into lake

ICYMI: BALD EAGLE TAKES DOWN DRONE OVER LAKE MICHIGAN

These masters of the sky are very territorial, and even drones aren't exempt from their patrols. 🦅😲😉

A bald eagle launched an aerial assault on a drone operated by the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy — known as EGLE — ripping off a propeller and sending the aircraft into Lake Michigan. The attack happened July 21, when the drone was mapping shoreline erosion near Esc...

EAGLE MYTH: EAGLES GO THROUGH REJUVENATION TO EXTEND THEIR LIVESHave you heard this one: when an eagle reaches about 25 ...
08/15/2020

EAGLE MYTH: EAGLES GO THROUGH REJUVENATION TO EXTEND THEIR LIVES

Have you heard this one: when an eagle reaches about 25 years of age, it flies to the top of the highest mountain, plucks out all of its feathers, loses its talons, and smashes off its beak on a rock. Then it undergoes a rejuvenation to extend its life.

We hear this particular story quite a lot from visitors, emails, and social media followers. It is the source of much confusion for many people. We don’t know the origins of this particular story, whether it comes from Native American or eastern mythology, or if it is simply meant to serve as an inspirational story. It is very inspirational, but it is absolutely a myth.

What we do know is that bald eagles live an average of 20-25 years in the wild, and up to 40 years in the care of humans. We also know that if an eagle were to undergo this process, it would starve to death in a matter of days. Eagles beaks are made of keratin (like human hair and fingernails) and, like fingernails, they continuously grow very slowly. An eagle would not be able to replace its beak quickly enough not to starve. Photo by Robert Dreeszen.🦅😉👍

EAGLE MYTH: SEEING GOLDEN EAGLES ON THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER... IN THE SUMMERSome of the most confusing things for the inex...
08/14/2020

EAGLE MYTH: SEEING GOLDEN EAGLES ON THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER... IN THE SUMMER

Some of the most confusing things for the inexperienced or untrained eye are juvenile bald eagles. They frequently appear bigger than adults, they are mostly brown, and we can observe them year-round along the Upper Mississippi River. So it isn’t surprising that we often hear from visitors and followers about the golden eagles they observe while out on the river or at their cabins. We don’t mean to dampen their excitement, but there is a 99.9% chance that they are observing juvenile bald eagle.

When we educate about golden eagles, we always talk about the differences from bald eagles. There are quite a few, but the two most relevant to this particular misconception are 1) that goldens are not water eagles and 2) that we only have a seasonal population that is present in the Upper Midwest during the winter months. When in our region, golden eagles spend their time in the backcountry among the coulees and bluffs. They are terrestrial hunters that do not eat fish and are not usually found near large bodies of water like the Mississippi River. Goldens are very prevalent in the western states where there are mountains and deserts. The population that overwinters in our region comes to us each year from their nesting grounds on the tundra of extreme northern Canada just below the Arctic Circle.

So, if you see a big brown eagle in the sky, always be sure to ask yourself two key questions: where are you seeing it, and when are you seeing it? If it’s by the river or during the summer, you’re seeing a juvenile bald eagle. Learn more about goldens: bit.ly/2EsFcMn. Photo: a juvenile golden eagle in flight. 😍👍

EAGLE MYTH: BALD EAGLES CAN’T UNLOCK THEIR TALONS AT WILL (AND DROWN)Bald eagles possess impressive feet which feature a...
08/13/2020

EAGLE MYTH: BALD EAGLES CAN’T UNLOCK THEIR TALONS AT WILL (AND DROWN)

Bald eagles possess impressive feet which feature a whole host of fascinating adaptations! From crazy-strong gripping power to razor-sharp talons to specialized circulation that keeps their feet from freezing to their built-in locking mechanism, they are equipped for hunting in all seasons.

Today, we focus on that last feature - the locking mechanism. Human tendons are smooth and easily slide back and forth. However, eagles have specialized tendons in their legs with ridges that allow them to “catch” like a ratchet. This allows eagles to relax their muscles while maintaining their grip. It comes in very handy when they are perched on a branch and sleep with one leg tucked. They won’t fall off. That said, they are still physically capable of relaxing that tension on the tendon and releasing their grip whenever they choose.

Part of this misconception has to do with the belief that some eagles drown when they catch a fish that is too heavy to fly back to shore, but they can't release it. It is certainly possible, but not because the eagle cannot release its grip. It is because that eagle stubbornly refuses to let go of lunch. In most cases, the eagle will land in the water and swim the fish back to the shore using their wings as oars. Photo by Margaret Maire. 🦅🙂👍

EAGLE MYTH: GOLDEN EAGLES ARE BIGGER THAN BALDSWe love to educate our guests about golden eagles! We were privileged to ...
08/12/2020

EAGLE MYTH: GOLDEN EAGLES ARE BIGGER THAN BALDS

We love to educate our guests about golden eagles! We were privileged to be able to care for Ambassador Donald at the Center for many years and work with him to teach thousands of people until his passing this past March. There are so many fascinating things about goldens, and our guests frequently don’t know as much about them compared to bald eagles because we don’t have them in the Upper Midwest year-round.

One common misconception is that golden eagles are larger than bald eagles. There are around 60 different species of eagles around the world and they vary greatly in size. However, goldens and balds are, in fact, about the same size. An individual eagle’s size is determined by the same factors: sex and geography.

The females are larger than the males in both species (by around 25-30%), and Bergmann’s Rule affects both. It basically states that the colder the environment, the larger the body. So, golden and bald eagles hatched in Alaska are larger than their counterparts hatched in California where it is warmer. But both species are roughly the same size. Photo of Ambassador Donald. Soar high, Donald! ❤️ Learn more about goldens: bit.ly/2EsFcMn.

EAGLE MYTH: EAGLES BITES ARE SERIOUS (THEY’LL PECK MY EYES OUT)It’s surprising how many visitors to the National Eagle C...
08/11/2020

EAGLE MYTH: EAGLES BITES ARE SERIOUS (THEY’LL PECK MY EYES OUT)

It’s surprising how many visitors to the National Eagle Center are actually frightened of the eagles and won’t go into the room where the ambassadors are on display. But fear of birds is actually not all that uncommon, certainly reinforced with horror classics like Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds. People often reference the fear of the eagles “pecking out their eyes”. Well, we have very good news - you have nothing to fear… from the beak.

Interestingly enough, we humans fear for our eyes, and that is a concern that eagles also share! In fact, because they are so reliant on their eyes for survival, they do everything they can to protect them, which means that their beaks are only a tool and not a weapon. They fight and hunt with their powerful talons. Why? Because the beak is too close to their eyes! Additionally, eagles don’t have much power in their beaks. When they eat, they rip and tear the meat, but that ripping power comes from their powerful neck muscles. The beak’s shape is designed to get a good grip, but not crush or pierce. Our handlers will tell that if an eagle does bite you, it is a sharp pinch that will likely bruise and only rarely draws blood.

So, no need to fear an eagle’s beak. Those talons on the other hand… 😟😉 Photo by John McCormack.

EAGLE MYTH: BALD EAGLES MATE FOR LIFEEach year, right around Valentine’s Day, nesting season arrives in the Upper Midwes...
08/10/2020

EAGLE MYTH: BALD EAGLES MATE FOR LIFE

Each year, right around Valentine’s Day, nesting season arrives in the Upper Midwest, at least for the earliest nesting pairs. Human interest in eagle love inevitably soars and our attention turns to nest cams! As we humans like to do, we begin to anthropomorphize eagles with our notions of love and romance. One of the most common questions we receive from visitors is, “They mate for life, right?”

Just as with human relationships, it’s complicated, and this particular notion is neither completely myth or fact. It just depends. What we do know is that the potential exists for a pair of eagles to mate exclusively with each other throughout their lives, but it is not the rule.

Regardless of who they select as a mate year to year, bald eagles always go through the courtship rituals at the start of each nesting season. If their mate from the previous year(s) is still strong and a good provider and they had success raising young in previous seasons, it is very likely they will pair up again. However, bald eagles have a strong “nest site fidelity” and that is to say that they have a stronger connection to the physical nest itself than their mate. So, if during the offseason something happens to their mate and they don’t return or they aren’t as strong the following season, an eagle will not hesitate to take a new mate. Photo by Kip Earny.

TUNE IN FOR A SPECIAL WEEK-LONG EAGLE101 SERIES - EAGLE MYTHSBe sure to stop by our page at 1pm Monday-Friday t...
08/09/2020

TUNE IN FOR A SPECIAL WEEK-LONG EAGLE101 SERIES - EAGLE MYTHS

Be sure to stop by our page at 1pm Monday-Friday this week as we clean up confusion surrounding some common eagle myths. There is always so much to learn about nature and sometimes misconceptions lead to misunderstanding. As always, the team at the National Eagle Center is here to help! Join us!

Here we see a bald eagle cleaning up with a refreshing bath in the river. 🦅😍👍

CRUISE ON IN FOR AN AUGUST VISIT!There is still plenty of summer left to make a visit to Wabasha and the eagles. We're o...
08/08/2020

CRUISE ON IN FOR AN AUGUST VISIT!

There is still plenty of summer left to make a visit to Wabasha and the eagles. We're open for pre-registered visitors Thursday - Sunday each week and our guests are loving the experience!

Like Karen who shared, "My five-year-old grandson loved the center! He has been pretty isolated during Covid, so this was an awesome place to learn and visit safely."

Or Valerie who says, "Great place to learn about the eagles and other birds! Love all the interaction for them to learn! Even with Covid restrictions, it was a very fun & positive experience!"

Plus, we're now offering small-group Guided Tours each Wednesday! Don't miss out this summer, cruise on in for a visit! Learn more: bit.ly/37R8diz. 🦅😀👍

CHECKING-IN ON LATSCH - HE IS GROWING UP!It's been a while since last we posted an updated photo of our youngest ambassa...
08/07/2020

CHECKING-IN ON LATSCH - HE IS GROWING UP!

It's been a while since last we posted an updated photo of our youngest ambassador, Latsch, and as you can see, he looks a lot different than he did even just a year ago last summer! His head is almost fully white and his tail is right behind (no pun intended!).

This photo shows Latsch enjoying a recent outdoor excursion in Wabasha with handler and Avian Care Manager Tiffany Ploehn. He is still very much an inquisitive bird and he is already a rock-solid education eagle. Looking good, buddy! 😍

Looking for a great summer day trip idea? Stop in for a visit this month and check out the new exhibits or enjoy one of our new Guided Tour experiences! Learn more: bit.ly/37R8diz. 🦅👍

Address

50 Pembroke Ave S
Wabasha, MN
55981

General information

Open Thursday - Sunday 10am-5:30pm Pre-purchased tickets required. Closed the following holidays: Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Easter Sunday

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Comments

Hitching a ride. Looking forward to some cold and ice.
Stephanie Stevens
Preening
I wonder what Columbia, Angel & Was'aka were talking about 😊🦅🦅🦅
No mistaking this silhouette!
Blessed to be able to capture their beauty on an almost daily basis here in the Twin Cities 🦅❤
Did you see that "Birds and Blooms" is featuring the eagle this month?
Are these Golden Eagles are Red Tailed Hawks?
Our friend Jay McClurg took these photos in Maplewood, MN.
Nice site. I will be placing another order soon.
A Bald Eagle with a big enough fish to feed all it's relatives coming over for Memorial Day!!!!!!!! Nagawicka Lake, WI 5-25-2020