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Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Technician Mike Hruza gets too close and riles an eaglet, one of two siblings thrown from a nest when a tree blew down Sunday. Both young birds, which haven't learned to fly yet, escaped serious injury in the crash. Their parents will continue to feed them on the ground. Pioneer Photo/Monte Draper

Bemidji-area eaglets survive after wind blows down nest

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Sunday's winds caused a dead spruce holding a large eagles' nest to come crashing down north of Bemidji.

The nest tree, a roadside attraction in a swamp east of Irvine Avenue Northwest and south of the intersection of U.S. Highway 71, broke in pieces as it landed and crushed the nest. The parent birds would have flown as their tree toppled, but their young weren't able to fly yet.

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"They're generally flying by the first week of July," said Conservation Officer Bruce Lenning. "Usually if they don't get hurt when the nest comes down, they're all right."

Vince Godon, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Forks, said the Bemidji area experienced winds of 45-50-mph Sunday. The turbulence was caused by the interaction of two weather systems.

"It's kind of the gradient of a primary system low over the Great Lakes and a big high kind of over western North Dakota," he said.

Lenning said they would leave the eaglets alone after they determined if they were healthy. The eaglets' parents were not around the nesting site Monday morning, although Minnesota Natural Resources Technician Mike Hruza said he saw one of the parents earlier.

"The adults will feed them on the ground," Lenning said. "They're probably out fishing to bring back something for them to eat."

Although the young birds were a week or so from flying, they are plenty big. Lenning said they are probably the heaviest they will ever be in their lives just before they start flying. All they had done up to that point has been to sit in the nest and eat.

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