Regional Offices > Jackson Region > Jackson Region News > Thirty-year-old Bald Eagle Takes Flight

Thirty-year-old Bald Eagle Takes Flight

March 13, 2020
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Thirty-year-old bald eagle that crashed through a window gets a new lease on life!

Jackson - A 30-year-old bald eagle that crashed through a resident's window spent a couple months rehabbing at the Teton Raptor Center and was recently released back to wild. 

On January 28, Jackson Game and Fish office manager Niki Johnson took the unusual call from Hoback Junction resident Reed Moulton. "You're not gonna believe this but a bald eagle just crashed through my window," an excited Moulton exclaimed. Johnson had to have him repeat what he was saying a couple times to make sure she was hearing him right. "He was clearly pretty worked up," said Johnson. "You know, sort of searching for words to describe what had just happened." 

Johnson immediately reached out to her Jackson Game Wardens and unfortunately one was out of cell range and the other was a good distance away. So she then called the Teton Raptor Center who acted quickly and were able to safely capture the bird and bring it to their facility for the necessary treatment until it was ready to return to it's former haunts. 

These photos show the original leg bands that were put on the male bald eagle as a nestling south of Jackson back in 1989.

As if crashing through a window wasn't enough of a story, it then turned out that the male bald eagle had been banded as a nestling back in the summer of 1989! I had been banded just a few miles up the Snake River from it's current nesting territory near Hoback Junction, south of Jackson. At 30 years-old, it is believed to be the second-oldest wild bald eagle ever recorded in the western United States. In 2016, another banded bald eagle was recovered near Jackson that was 34 years-old. On the east coast, a 38-year-old bald eagle was documented after being hit by a vehicle in New York City.

Some feathers on the underside of this birds' wings have been clipped so that it can be identified even with the naked eye. There will be a small "window" that will allow light to be seen through each wing when it is flying overhead. The identifiable markings will only last for about a year, until the bird molts and grows a new crop of feathers. 

The Game and Fish Department wishes to thank the Teton Raptor Center for their instrumental role in allowing this bird, and many others, the opportunity to return to the wild.

- WGFD -

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