PLYMOUTH, Minn. (WCCO) — Earlier this week, Plymouth police broke up a street fight of the most unusual kind. Two eagles decided to do battle near the intersection of 41st Avenue and Nathan Lane. It went on for quite a while and in front of a small crowd.
Officer Mitch Martinson was doing traffic enforcement near the high school that day, ensuring the safety of students. He never thought he’d also be ensuring the safety of eagles.
“We do have de-escalation tactics, but I’ve never applied them to eagles or other animals,” Martinson said.
When the call took him to 41st and Nathan Lane, he happened upon an all-out tussle involving talons, beaks, and the occasional screech.
“I was trying to go through my head what to do next. And who to call,” Martinson said.
He reached out to the DNR and the Raptor Center, who later said the birds were fighting over territory. In addition to Martinson’s body camera, neighbors took a number of pictures.
“It’s just crazy. It’s hard to believe it happened right here in the street,” neighbor Todd Burroughs said.
Martinson even recalled an Animal Planet episode that said covering a bird’s head helps it calm down. But before he could try that tactic, the situation changed. The eagles went from fight to flight.
“Eventually the eagles started going at it again and the next thing you knew, they were flying away,” Martinson said.
This was the first call of this kind for Martinson and probably the last. He knows it’s not very often that wildlife puts on a show for everyone to see.
“It’s one of the perks of the job is that every day is a new day and every call is different than the last, and you never know what you are going to get yourself into. And this one I’ll remember the rest of my life as one of the top ones of my career,” Martinson said.
Martinson said the eagles did not appear to be hurt when they flew away. The Raptor Center said sometimes those fights end in serious injuries or even death.
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