Biologists eager to study rescued bald eagle

Wildlife News


Published: Thursday, June 10, 2010 12:53 AM MDT

PHOENIX (AP) — For a moment, the 7-year-old bald eagle seemed willing to pose for pictures, his head turned to face the cameras, his eyes flashing, his beak slightly open.

But in the instant his handler let go of his talons, the mighty raptor’s demeanor changed. He raised his head, spread his wings and flew, swooping over the shores of Watson Lake in Prescott, flying in the wild for the first time since March

The eagle was released Monday by state wildlife officials after a three-month stay at a Cave Creek rehabilitation center, where he was treated for wing injuries and high lead levels in his bloodstream.

He also was fitted with a solar-powered GPS unit, about the size of a small cellphone, which will allow biologists at the Arizona Game and Fish Department to track his movements.

The biologists hope the bird will teach them things about adult bald eagles — their movements, the habitat they favor — that could help better manage the species.
“We don’t get opportunities like this very often,” said Kenneth Jacobson, the department’s bald-eagle management coordinator. “We hope this will help us understand what our birds in Arizona do.”

The eagle released will be the only one fitted with a tracking pack and the only adult, non-breeding eagle ever tracked electronically in the state.

Biologists can monitor eagles in nests, but if they’re not breeding, their movements are largely unknown.


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