Day 197 Sunday 26th October Rochester MN
Today we woke up to a wind that was blowing a gale and hitting the RV broadside, needless to say I had a firm grip of the steering wheel all day. It is good to see the fuel prices going down; the best we saw was $2.12 per gallon, unfortunately we had filled up the night before at $2.40 p/g.
The drive south, on the western side of the Mississippi river was very pleasant, notwithstanding the gale force winds. The autumn leaves were being blown all over the place and it won’t be long before all the trees are bare.
The highlight of the day was visiting the National Eagle Centre in Wabasha. The centre had 4 Bald Eagles that had been rescued from various traumas/road accidents the birds had suffered. The Bald Eagle (B/E) is a magnificent bird when you see them in the wild. All up we spent two hours at the centre taking lots of photos of the birds, looking at the exhibits and listening to presentation by one of the keepers. Our knowledge of the eagle has increased considerably and would like to share this knowledge with you.
• The female is the larger bird and can lay up to 4 eggs in one season usually each egg is delivered a day appart. The survival of the babies is dependent upon the amount of food available at the time. If food is scarce, survival of the fittest applies and the weaker babies are sacrificed.
• The chicks will grow to full size in 17 weeks and are able to stay in the vicinity of the nest for up to 4 years but cannot return to the nest.
• The Bald Eagle’s feathers are not water resistant which means the bird cannot float. If they catch a fish which is too heavy to carry (maximum weight the can carry is about 3lbs for female and 2lb for the mail) the eagle must release the catch otherwise it may drown. If the feathers get too wet, they must hold their wings out to let the feathers dry.
• The Golden Eagle and Bald Eagle are the same size, each weighing up to approx 10lbs.
• The Bald Eagle is a protected species; if you are found with any part of the bird, even a small feather; you face a fine of $5,000 and five years jail.
• The Bald Eagle uses its beak to tear strips of food off. The talons are able to exert pressure up to 200 lbs. The beak has no biting pressure.
By mid-afternoon, the weather had turned really nasty, strong side winds and snow showers. After nearly two hours of driving we decide to call it a day and find an RV park to spend the rest of the afternoon at, and catch up on some housekeeping such as laundry. While in the RV Park it continued to snow, however the ground was either too wet or too warn and the snow didn’t settle. It could be a little chilly over nite.