Adult Bald Eagle at the Overlook!

September 19, 2013 Leave your thoughts

Jill Genaw and adopted Bald Eagle

Hawk Ridge member Jill Genaw of Shoreview, Mn experienced an unforgettable day at Hawk Ridge yesterday. Not only did she have the extremely rare opportunity to adopt an adult Bald Eagle but she also got to watch it being caught at our banding station! Just as she and tour leader, Linda Estel, reached the banding station to begin the tour chaos broke out and everyone from the banding blind went running to the net where the eagle had been caught. Jill had been on banding station tours before but nothing like this! She decided she had to adopt this bird. Handling and releasing a bird this large is more complicated than most of the raptors caught at Hawk Ridge and must only be done by someone as experienced as Frank Nicoletti, our Banding Director. Jill was more than content with this of course (eagle talons are huge!) and watched with teary eyes as this amazing bird took flight.

This adult Bald Eagle was caught in a bow net at the main banding station by raptor bander and Hawk Ridge board member Dave Alexander. Bald Eagles are not often caught here but this year we have already had two others before this. Neither of these were old enough to have the white head and tail of the mature adult though. Tuesday’s bird was estimated to be at least four or five years old since that is the age when the head and tail feathers turn completely white. The last time one of these magnificent creatures was seen in the hand at Hawk Ridge was in 2011 when volunteer Gretchen McDaniel adopted an adult Bald Eagle in honor of her brother-in-law who was a marine based in Afghanistan. 

Frank releases the Bald Eagle

Private banding station tours, such as Jill’s, are complimentary for Hawk Ridge members at the Owl membership level or higher. This year for the first time we are making tours available to the public as well. For $15 per person you can now enjoy watching our banders attempt to catch the many hawks that fly over Hawk Ridge. On these tours you may also have the opportunity to adopt a banded bird. Who knows, you may be lucky enough to see something as spectacular as Jill did!

Jessica Chatterton
Hawk Ridge Operations Director

Posted by Jessica Chatterton

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