Eagles found locked together after 'death spiral' in Apple Valley

They were either fighting or fornicating.
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Seeing a bald eagle up close and personal is a rare event for any American, so seeing two of them is even more unlikely.

Officers with Apple Valley Police Department happened upon the birds on Tuesday, finding them "tangled up and unable to fly."

"Kind of like kids fighting - they just need to be separated. We did that and off they went," the department said on Facebook.

What caused the two to be locked up in such a manner is a matter of debate, though the Minnesota DNR says that it's likely they were fighting and ended up in a "death spiral" that saw them crash to the ground.

The other possibility is that they were in a lovers' clinch, however the DNR said that's less likely due to the time of year.

"Bald eagles lock talons and tumble into a 'death spiral' for two very distinct reasons. Courtship or territorial fighting," Lori Naumann, of the DNR's nongame wildlife program, told BMTN.

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"Either objective can end badly for at least one of the birds," she said.

"Courtship is more graceful and is more likely to occur in the late winter/spring. Late fall and early winter is when wintering bald eagles return to their nesting habitat and compete for habitat with other eagles or pairs of eagles.

"Eagles have very powerful muscles in their legs that clamp their feet and toes closed in a vice-like grip. It is far easier for the eagle to grip their talons than it is for them to release them, which is why they occasionally are unable to release before they hit the ground."

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