Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Last week an amazing bird was brought to the Teton Raptor Center in Jackson. An adult female bald eagle was found near the elk refuge unable to fly. The TRC thought she had been hit by a vehicle, and are still not sure what happened to her. The most extraordinary thing is that she was wearing a federal band on her leg which was put on there in 1982. She is 34 years old! She's slowly recovering but with her age I doubt if she'll be released even if she can fly. She deserves to be in a facility where she won't have to worry about her next meal.
As of now she is the second oldest living banded bald eagle on record. There is another who is 35. And the oldest banded bald eagle on record, as far as I know, is one who lived to the age of 38 before dying.
Besides the 20 year old banded male redtail I got in a couple years ago, this eagle is the second oldest bird I've seen. The oldest is a golden eagle who was injured as an adult and taken in by a 16 year old man so he could help her. When I met the two of them, Gus had just celebrated his 56th birthday. The eagle was still with him making her at least 45 years old. Because he found her before the rules changed, he was allowed to keep her with him. Of course he could never have another one. When I met them the eagle was blind but doing really well. He fed her a good diet and she, in turn, was a companion to him as they grew old together. She's gone now and her body was returned to the mountain where she was found.