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The latest weird tales from the Minnesota DNR conservation officer reports

Respect the loons.
baby loon 2

If you're not familiar with them (or our near-weekly series), the Minnesota DNR issues every week a list of reports from its dozens of conservation officers patrolling the state.

The reports can often be fairly run-of-the-mill – issuing citations for fishing without a license, for example – but quite often they feature something unusual, or downright delightful.

Here's a look at some of the stories that stood out from this week's reports:

Baby eagle learning to fly

In Thief River Falls East, CO Tony Elwell received a call reporting a young eagle that appeared to have fallen from its nest.

Elwell asked the caller to walk up to it and see if it would fly away. As the caller approached, the eaglet flew to a nearby tree, "out of harm's way." You simply love to see it. 

Kid chases loon

In Hill City, CO Taylor Hochstein reports they assisted county and local police with responding to a "juvenile observed chasing a loon while operating a personal watercraft." 

Harassing loons — the official Minnesota state bird — is evidently not a new issue. In June, the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Minnesota gave an account of an abandoned baby loon that had died from injuries and possibly stress.

As well as the juvenile incident, a St. Cloud officer reported a call of boaters harassing loons this past week, and an officer in Buffalo says he is investigating a call about water skiers harassing loons on Maple Lake. In Wheaton, CO Hanna Wood says she took calls regarding a swan that appeared to have been shot and a dead loon. 

According to the Adironack Center for Loon Conservation, disturbing loons can cause them to leave their nests, disrupting incubation or abandoning young birds. The center recommends following the "rule of thumb": if you extend your arm out, you should be able to cover your sight of the bird with your thumb. If not, you're too close. Loons will also let you know if they're stressed out — they will either "penguin dance" or call out loudly. 

Road rage in Hill City

Hochstein also said he helped the Aitkin County Sheriff's Office with a case involving two suspects in a road rage incident that escalated into an assault "where a bat was used and a knife was brandished." 

Dancing disturbance

In Hinckley, CO Bret Grundmeier says he helped apprehend an individual "running around town, causing disturbances and threatening people while under the influence of controlled substances. Prior to being caught and arrested, the individual took some clothes off and ran around town hollering and singing.

"The individual even stopped a time or two to show off some dance moves for arresting officers," Grundmeier noted.

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