WABASHA, Minn. - When summer heat pours it on, residents of Wabasha can often be found at the beach.
But not everyone frolicking in the Mississippi River is human. Show up on a Tuesday and you're likely to find bald eagles splashing in the water and then drying off in the sun.
For the past decade, the National Eagle Center has been treating its birds to "Beach Day."
Joan Schnabel is the volunteer who first drove the center's disabled eagles a few blocks to the beach. "They deserve a time to be outdoors to feel the wind, to just have a good time," she says of the birds that help with the center's educational programming.
Though tethered, the eagles have enough leash to jump into the river and splash themselves. On rare occasions, they've even snagged fish that swam too close.
As with any celebrity, the eagles attract a fair amount of attention. Clifton Hill of Columbia, Missouri, was among the paparazzi on a recent Tuesday.
"For us this is a real treat. We don't have this at home and not many people do actually," he said.
Beach Day begins at 11 a.m. on Tuesday mornings, weather permitting. The National Eagle Center suggests that people driving from a distance call ahead to make sure the eagles will be out.
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