The Raptor Center received some very interesting news from the Wisconsin DNR recently: In April 1997, TRC admitted two adult male bald eagles that were in a territorial fight at Island Lake in Wisconsin. One bird had been banded by Ron Eckstein (DNR) as a chick in the nest in 1979 (thus it was 18years old at the time of admission). Both eagles sustained soft tissue trauma, the banded bird with the least severe injuries. It was rehabilitated and released back at Island Lake two months later (the other eagle was released locally in October). The body of the banded bird was recently recovered in Rhinelander, WI. According to Ron, this bird has the longest known longevity of a wild bald eagle in WI – 31 years (and it survived 13 years after rehab!).
This information is a great reason why birds are banded. The Raptor Center bands most birds that it releases after rehabilitation. Other birds are banded as chicks, or in the wild. We have learned great information on where birds go to better understand conservation of land needs, as well as migration details, population information, and other. You can visit the Bird Banding Lab's website here for links on how to report a banded bird, information we have learned, and the species longevity records from banding returns!