Apple Valley cops respond to tangled, lustful eagles

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We've heard of "Tangled up in Blue," but tangled up in birds?! 

The Apple Valley Police Department recently responded to that very scenario.

"Yesterday our officers were called to these two birds who were tangled up and unable to fly," Apple Valley PD tweeted Tuesday, posting a photo of the eagles. "Kind of like kids fighting—they just need to be separated. We did that and off they went."

The image took off on social media, but fighting children isn't the most apt metaphor for it. These particular birds were probably engaged in R-rated raptor behavior. 

Sushma Reddy, an ornithologist at the University of Minnesota, suspects the eagles became tangled due to a botched mating ritual. We're talking about the perilous "death spiral" courtship technique, which allows eagles to size up potential partners. "It’s like going out on the dance floor if you’re a really good dancer," wildlife ecologist David Buehler tells National Geographic.

There's inherent risk when you combine interlocking razor-sharp talons and spiraling downward from the sky, Reddy adds. 

"It’s also likely the eagles are stressed when stuck, so getting them to relax their grip is hard at first but once untangled they should be fine," she says. "I would not recommend people doing this without some expertise in animal handling, thick gloves, or strength."

Craving more local eagles in unexpected places? Revisit this extremely viral St. Croix River fishing bird from earlier this year.