Twitter flies to the rescue after bald eagles tangle talons in Shakopee


Twitter to the rescue. Neighbors used the social media site to help rescue two male bald eagles who locked talons in midair and tumbled to the ground in Shakopee.

More than 150 people gathered in the front yard of Lesley Breimhorst's Shakopee home to watch the entangled, injured birds Monday night, FOX 9 reports.

State wildlife officials say that when birds are tangled like that on the ground, it's best not to intervene – often the eagles will spring themselves loose, WCCO reports.

But these birds didn't. So the gathered neighbors started squawking for help on Twitter.

After struggling to get in touch with someone from the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota after hours, bird watchers tweeted for help, FOX 9 reported.

Kevin Wetherille tweeted out a photo of the birds and eventually got in touch with FOX 9 meteorologist Ian Leonard, who retweeted the message, FOX 9 says. The message was also seen by K-TWIN sports reporter Lindsay Guentzel, who also helped alert Raptor Center officials.

Guentzel said the center doesn't answer calls after hours, but thanks to social media, a team came out to help the birds.

The two eagles suffered soft tissue wounds and tested positive for minor lead poisoning, which means they likely ate carcasses of animals that were shot. For the next few weeks, the eagles will recover at the Raptor Center before being released back into the wild.

These two eagles were likely entangled in a territory dispute, according to the Raptor Center's website. Territory disputes can resemble bald eagle courtship. The mating ritual, called cartwheeling, involves two birds grasping talons in flight and then dropping in dramatic fashion. Typically, they break apart when they near the ground.

But on occasion, entangled bald eagles crash. Last May, two bald eagles crashed to the ground on the tarmac at Duluth International Airport. One of the birds flew away and the other eagle was transported and treated at the Raptor Center. A month after being released, the eagle died after getting caught in a fishing line.

The Raptor Center says many bald eagle pairs in the state are incubating eggs at this time, but single adults might still make attempts to take over already-occupied territory.

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