JACKSON, Wyo. — An aging bald eagle is on the mend after crashing through a double-paned window at a residence in Jackson yesterday.
Teton Raptor Center responded to the incident after Reed Moulton called Game and Fish to say an eagle had just crash-landed into his bedroom. It was so loud, Moulton said he thought a tree had fallen on his house. Initially, the eagle looked dead, but after a few minutes it stood up and perched on his fly-tying desk.
The Wyoming Game and Fish Department referred the case to the Teton Raptor Center. TRC Rehabilitation Director Meghan Warren arrived and captured the bird. It was still alert enough that it fought back, sending shards of glass flying. As the eagle was taken outside to the car, another eagle, presumably its mate, called overhead.
The rehabilitation team at Teton Raptor Center evaluated the injured eagle and found trauma and lacerations to both feet, both wings, and a minor abrasion on the right eye. The eagle was also exhibiting signs of a concussion. Following examination, the eagle was treated with anti-inflammatory medication, subcutaneous fluids, and placed in TRC’s oxygen chamber to recuperate. A blood sample was tested and ruled out lead toxicity.
While looking over the raptor, Warren noticed something else: a USGS leg band with a number on it. Anne Hare, a TRC Ambassador, noted the number and reported it to TRC’s Research Director, Bryan Bedrosian, who submitted the number to the USGS Bird Banding Lab. At first, Bedrosian received an error message stating the number was either incorrect or that the eagle was unusually old.
The eagle turned out to, indeed, be 30 years old. Banded in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem in the spring of 1989, this makes it one of the oldest eagles documented in the wild, but not the oldest the Raptor Center has ever seen.
In 2016, TRC admitted another ancient eagle that was injured by electrocution on an electrical pole in Jackson. That eagle was 34 years old and the oldest bald eagle ever documented west of the Mississippi River. The oldest eagle ever documented in the U.S. was a bald eagle of at least 38 years that was struck by a vehicle in New York City.
The average lifespan for a Bald Eagle is approximately 20 years in the wild.
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