BEMIDJI—The rain didn’t seem to bother 5-year-old Molly McIntosh at all.
“We are camping and I saw the eagles’ nest, it was big! It was so cool,” she said.
Despite rain showers on Saturday afternoon, about 50 people hiked 10 minutes into Lake Bemidji State Park to observe an active eagles nest.
Molly’s fellow participants, young and old alike, also enjoyed the program. Mary Hood, a camper at the park, said the Eagle Nest Hike is one of her favorite programs the park offers.
“The programs at this park are fantastic. I think this program or the birds one is my favorite,” Hood said. “We try to come here once a year to enjoy the great programs and biking trails.”
The program started at 3 p.m. at the visitor center. Becky Ryan, a seasonal naturalist at the park, spent 15 minutes teaching participants about the history of the bald eagles and facts about the birds.
Ryan talked about how Minnesota has the largest population of eagles in the lower 48 and has even donated eggs to be relocated to help increase eagle populations in other states. Lake Bemidji is home to multiple eagle nests.
Many participants had seen eagles or an eagle nest before but were still just as excited about seeing an active nest Saturday.
The same pair of eagles has returned to the park for years, as eagles mate for life. While the adult eagles were not at the nest Saturday, participants used a scope and binoculars to look at the eaglets in the sizable nest made of sticks and mud.
“When you live up here there are eagles nests all over,” said Tim Wang. “We have watched them a lot,” agreed Mary Wang.
Ryan said she thinks so many people are interested in the nest because of the symbolism associated with eagles, the national bird of the United States.
“It’s really neat that we have a nest right on site. Before I got here, about a month ago, I had never seen a nest,” Ryan said.
“I don’t think anyone ever gets tired of seeing bald eagles because of all that they symbolize. They are pretty amazing creatures.”