National Eagle Center in Wabasha

Eagles in Wabasha at the National Eagle Center

To Minnesota natives, it’s been a pleasure getting to see the Bald Eagles make a comeback. Even in the last 10 years or so, their populations have grown dramatically.

According to the US Fish and Wildlife Services, in 1990 there were 400 nesting pairs; in 2010 there were 1300 in Minnesota.

Most of them reside next to waterways, like the Mississippi River. To see eagles for sure, visit the National Eagle Center in Wabasha.

Wabasha, the home of some Grumpy Old Men… or so I thought. Ok, they really only filmed a few small things there. To the locals, they are most well known for their National Eagle Center.

We decided to take the river drive there. There were a lot of small towns along the way that you had to stop at. It was nice getting to take things a little slower.

For some reason when you get onto freeways, it’s a mission to see how fast you get there, and you miss things in all the small towns along the way.

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The Eagles at Wabasha National Eagle Center

Our mission, seeing the Eagles in Wabasha at the National Eagle Center. We got there about 20 minutes before the first show.

It gave us just enough time to check out the 4 different Eagles they had on display. One of the things I really appreciated was that they had the birds in an open-air room.

When I say open air, I mean there was nothing preventing you from jumping over and petting a bird. (Not Recommended). It’s more intimate when you get to visit birds or any animal without a glass or net in-between.

The National Eagle Center is home to four Bald Eagles and one captivating Golden Eagle ambassador.

Most of the time the Eagles are on display at the center, but they do get to leave and for presentations on and off-site. These raptors were all found injured and can no longer take care of themselves in the wild.

Eagles at the National Eagle Center in Wabasha
Golden Eagle at the National Eagle Center in Wabasha

The Bird Show at the National Eagle Center

People started to fill up the classroom 15 minutes early to get a seat for their presentation. The National Eagle Center in Wabasha put on a great educational show.

What I loved was that they passed around a lot of hands-on visuals to give you a good idea of what they were talking about.

One of my son’s favorite parts was getting to touch the ‘Pellets’. Pellets are indigestible things that birds vomit back up.I think he thought it was a new touch and feel book.

They also passed around feathers, talons, and a lot of pictures of the different types of birds of prey.

National Eagle Center Show
National Eagle Center Eating

Then there was the main event. They brought out Angle, a female bird that’s been with the center since 2000. She had a broken wing and was unable to return to the wild.

We also came on a very special day. Instead of the normal fish, they feed them, this time they had a rat to treat on. Thankfully it was dead but still, it was very graphic.

A warning to anyone thinking of going to the show; the front row is known as the splash zone. We also found out that the birds also dictate how long the presentation goes on.

Typically, the whole presentation will last an hour. If the bird gets uncomfortable, it will end it sooner.

Wild Eagles in Wabasha

After the show, we looked around the center a little more. The National Eagle Center offers two distinct levels of engaging activities.

They had a bunch of interactive setups to learn about other aspects of the birds. My daughter had fun playing with the telescope camera, and looking at feathers.

They had telescopes and binoculars to look for birds flying over the river banks. If the weather is nice enough, you can also hang out on their balcony to try and spot some.

Eagles have made the river home and live year-round. A fun fact we learned, if the Eagles inside start to scream, it’s because they saw other Eagles outside the window.

They are very territorial. We were fortunate enough to hear this on our visit. It can get very noisy. For a look at live Eagles in the wild, visit the Live Eagle Nest Cam. They also have field trips to visit in person.

Eagles flying at the Eagle Center
National Eagle Center

The National Eagle Center in Wabasha is a great stop for people of every age. It is also very encouraging to know that because of conservation efforts there are more and more of these in the wild today.

Fun Facts

They do not rehabilitate the Birds there; just provide them with a home for the birds that are unable to return to the wild.

Shows at the National Eagle Center are at 11am, 1pm, and 3pm.

It’s all a privately funded nonprofit organization. Admission is $10 (Adults), $9 (US Vets), $7 (Kid 4-17), FREE (Children 3 & Under), FREE (Members)

The National Eagle Center is open during Covid. The classroom setting is closed due to social distancing and other changes have taken effect. Check out their website for full details. They also require advance tickets.

Mississippi River
National Eagle Center in Wabasha

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