A few weeks ago, we sent a note that we did not have final word on Harley the bald eagle’s satellite transmitter, but did want to give an update to his many “followers.”
We recently received notification that Harley's body was found in a farm field near where he was last known to have been in the Evelyth area. In September, Dr. Ponder traveled to the area to hike the farm and scour the area where his last transmissions were from. She talked with the local land owners, but did not see Harley. It was possible he was already down in the hay field. The local Department of Natural Resources conservation officer returned his transmitter and what is left of the body to us.
While we are still hoping we might get a bit more information from testing, the cause of Harley's death is not clear at this time. One very interesting finding raised a few questions - Harley had recently molted almost all of his primary flight feathers on one wing. This is a very abnormal molt for a raptor as that many missing flight feathers would make flight challenging or impossible.
After following Harley's story for two years, it is hard to believe he is gone; we had hoped that only his transmitter had died. We enjoyed watching Harley's travels, we got a lot of information from him, and we set the stage for piloting some new education initiatives and began to see some new possibilities. We have many reasons to remember Harley fondly.
Click here for Harley's back story. We also have a journal with monthly maps of his journey there.