Thursday, December 8, 2011

Update on Harley the Bald Eagle

Early this fall, we lost signal from Harley’s transmitter. The last few transmissions were from northern Minnesota. We searched the area fairly thoroughly and finally concluded we had lost contact.

We have a few ideas on what may have happened to the transmitter: Harley’s transmitter is faulty and just stopped working, has fallen off and broke, or he has gotten into some other trouble.

While his transmitter was set and designed with a “mortality signal” which starts to transmit when the unit has not moved for 24 hours, the signal has never gone off. Many of you may remember that we had transmission problems around last Christmas 2010, while Harley was in Arkansas. After a brief period of time, the transmitter came back on-line with no outside assistance. We were hopeful that this was the case again this time, but it doesn’t appear to be so.

While we will miss continuing to follow Harley’s travels, it is amazing to reflect on how much we learned from watching one eagle’s movements. The scientists among us will be quick to acknowledge that one set of data points don’t tell us about a whole species, but Harley did have some very interesting travels, including his winter in Arkansas, several summer jaunts to the Northern Minnesota and the Canadian border and quite a bit of time in Wisconsin, near where he was originally recovered. We look forward to incorporating this data into some new lesson plans for school age children. We wish Harley the best, wherever he is.

(For background on Harley's story, click here)

1 comment: