Jim Williams has been watching birds and writing about their antics since before "Gilligan's Island" went into reruns. Join him for his unique insights, his everyday adventures and an open conversation about the birds in your back yard and beyond.
Sunday last Jude and I drove south to the Faribault area to look for migrating geese. We saw many, as has almost anyone who has made an effort to look. Greater White-fronted Geese are being seen in particularly large numbers in eastern and central parts of the state, counts ununual for those Minnesota location. Highlight of the day, however, was a posse of eagles we found near a small body of water known as Buck Lake (I think). We were coming north on HIghway 169, north of St. Peter, when we turned onto Highway 93. In a mile we were alongside the water. Eagles were in the air, six, eight, ten together, floating back and forth along the lakeside. More birds were perched on trees on all sides of the water. At one point we counted 19 eagles in trees and 11 in the air. The birds are moving north, many of them following rivers (the MInnesota River was close by to the east). They're waiting for lake ice to leave before they complete their migtration into nesting territories. Twice, juvenile birds swung into each other's glide path, and then began mock battle, tumbing a few yards through the air as they jabbed at each other with their talons. Here are photos from those encounters. There are two photos of the same pair. In both photos the bird below is upsidedown. The third photo is a near-adult bird on the lake ice. Near-adult: probably five years old. Complete white head and tail feathers achieved in year six in most cases.
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