Golden Eagle Release – March 25, 2009

Scott Mehus from the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, and Mark Martell from the Raptor Center released a Golden Eagle today about 4 miles from the farm, in Buffalo County.  The eagle had been caught in a coyote trap, and brought to the raptor center to be rehabilitated.  Scott and Mark took advantage of it’s being available, and fitted it with a radio transmitter so they can keep track of it after it’s released.

No one really knows much about the Golden Eagles that spend their winters in the driftless area of Wisconsin.  The center of their winter territory seems to be Buffalo County, but no one knows where they spend their summers.  Scott and Mark are trying to find out by tracking some eagles with radio signals.  They’ve had a hard time catching unhurt eagles, so they were excited to have the chance to put their tracking device on this one.

The day was cold and windy, but about 50 people showed up to watch the release, including reporters from the television station in Eau Claire.


Television team


Waiting for the eagle to arrive


First Mark held the bird, showed us the radio transmitter, and explained how it would be released.  It would be thrown into the wind, and then would probably turn quickly and head the other way.


the radio tracking device is fastened to the eagle’s back


Scott got to do the release.



Getting a good grip just before the release


When he threw the eagle, it headed straight into the wind, and then continued straight on over to some trees, and settled down on a branch.


Two crows discovered it right away and started harassing it.  A Red-tailed Hawk sailed up from the trees nearby and circled overhead.  The eagle stayed on it’s branch for about 10 minutes, and then took off, flying over a field and then back farther into the trees.

Tracking information on this eagle is available on the Audubon Minnesota web site.  There’s a story about the Golden Eagles, and about what they hope to learn from this one (#42).  They put up maps of where the eagle has been every few weeks.  Another Golden Eagle was equipped with a radio transmitter in March 2010.  Information and tracking for “Fairchild” (#44) can also be found on the Audubon web site.