North-going eagle," shouts Erik Bruhnke, a staff member of the Hawk Ridge Nature Reserve in Duluth.
On a bluff high above Duluth and Lake Superior, a juvenile bald eagle cruises along the bluff line, just below the sight line of onlookers.
Every fall, volunteers with spotting scopes and birders with binoculars gather to watch the migrating raptors that pass between the bluffs and Lake Superior by the thousands.
"It is very weather-dependent," says Bruhnke
, who also leads birding tours.
"The best conditions are with west or northwesterly winds with sunny conditions.
The winds keep the birds hugging the shoreline."
With the migrating birds of prey funneled along the shore of the vast lake, birdwatchers only have to pick a spot and wait.
"Raptors are not capable of flying long distances over water," Bruhnke
And speaking of dangers, Bruhnke
saw a lone European starling perching in a tree not far from where the sharp-shinned hawks were released.
Sharp-shinned hawks are members of a group of hawks known as Accipiters, forest hawks that eat other birds.
"It's kind of surprising to see a starling here," Bruhnke