The Raptor Center applies a federal band to most of the rehabilitated raptors released back to the wild. Although only an average of 5 band returns a year are received, the information these provide is invaluable in critiquing our rehabilitation techniques and in learning more about raptor movements and behavior.
Last week, we received band return information on a bald eagle we admitted on 11/13/2005. At that time, this female eagle, weighing in at 4430g, was 3-4 years old. She had been shot in Wanamingo, MN and suffered a fractured left ulna (one of the bones in the middle of the wing) along with bruising and swelling of tissues where the projectile entered. Dr. Hugo Lopez, a veterinarian from Portugal, performed the surgery to repair the wing and the bird recovered well. She was reconditioned over the winter months and released at Carpenter Nature Center in Hastings on 3/18/2006. She survived 6 and ½ years after that traumatic event and was recovered northeast of the Hwy 56 bridge along the Cannon River last week. We do not know how or why she died, but are grateful that our skill and compassion gave her several more years to soar in blue skies, and that the silver band she wore from that time forward was able to provide us with feedback on our efforts.