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Brawling bald eagles found tangled together in odd sight, Minnesota photos show

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Two bald eagles found themselves tangled together after what was likely a fight for territory, Minnesota media reports.

The Plymouth Police Department says they were called to the scene Nov. 2 after someone found the two bald eagles stuck together on a roadway. Photos from the department captured the odd sight as the eagles appeared to be splooting in the street.

Responding Officer Mitch Martinson wasn’t quite sure what to do, according to WCCO.

“We do have de-escalation tactics, but I’ve never applied them to eagles or other animals,” he said, according to the Minnesota-based TV station. “I was trying to go through my head what to do next. And who to call.”

Police on Twitter said the eagles were able to untangle themselves “with a little assistance” before flying away.

Victoria Hall, executive director of the University of Minnesota’s Raptor Center, said the birds were likely brawling in-air before they were entangled, KARE reported.

“There are two times of year when we know this to occur,” she said, according to the station. “Early spring as pairs are reestablishing territories in preparation for breeding, and in the fall when some pairs reclaim a nest (if they stay on territory during the winter) and start adding sticks to reinforce its structure.”

In October 2019, the Apple Valley Police Department in Minnesota responded to a similar situation.

“Our officers were called to these two birds who were tangled up and unable to fly,” police said at the time. “Kind of like kids fighting — they just need to be separated. We did that and off they went.”

Bald eagles typically congregate in Minnesota beginning early November, according to the state’s Department of Natural Resources. This occurs as part of the birds’ migration from their northern summer to their southern winter.

“During this time, southeastern Minnesota is host to significant numbers of bald eagles making their way south,” the department says. “Hundreds of bald eagles prefer to overwinter in the Red Wing and Wabasha areas near the Mississippi River, where the current of the inflowing Chippewa River maintains open water throughout the winter.”

Plymouth is about 15 miles west of Minneapolis, and about 65 miles west from Red Wing.

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