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‘Death Spirals’ Of Love: The Fascinating Behavior Of North Carolina Bald Eagles

Ellen Tinsley is acutely aware of the behavior and patterns of bald eagles in North Carolina. The retired equine veterinarian is a bald eagle monitor for the United States Army Corps of Engineers. She spends most mornings at Jordan Lake tracking the behavior of Petruchio, Kate, Hershey and Godiva – eagles who have nested in the area. 

Among the rituals she has witnessed is one called a ‘death spiral,’ where a pair of bald eagles plummet to the earth with their talons entwined to test each other’s compatibility as a mate.

Host Frank Stasio speaks with Tinsley about the history of the bald eagle population in North Carolina.

Tinsley will lecture about bald eagles Saturday, July 15 at 2 p.m. and Saturday, August 12 at 2 p.m. at the Jordan Lake State Recreation Area Visitor Center. Her research is also compiled in an e-book entitled “Bald Eagles: Jordan Lake Neighborhood.”

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Laura Pellicer is a digital reporter with WUNC’s small but intrepid digital news team.
Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.