Twenty Five Year Old Bald Eagle Recaptured
Region 6 Natural Resource Highlight
Region 6 Wildlife staff made a surprise catch on January 30, 2001 while conducting winter bald eagle trapping on the St Lawrence River. Agnes, a twenty five year old bald eagle, one of the first two eaglets brought to New York State as part of the Bald Eagle Restoration Project that began in 1976, was recaptured by DEC staff. She was positively identified from the leg band she had been wearing since her initial handling.
In 1980 she was found nesting with her sibling in Jefferson County on the Perch River Wildlife Management Area, this was the first successful bald eagle nest found in New York state after the start of the restoration project. Her distinctive aggressive behavior set her apart from other nesting eagles and made it easy to tell it was Agnes returning to nest at Perch River for a number of years. In recent years, she had not been positively identified and it was not known if she was still alive. It was an exciting development that she was discovered again at this relatively old age and in seemingly good health. A blood sample was taken which will provide information on the accumulated contaminant levels of a New York resident bald eagle and the tail feather transmitter she was outfitted with will allow staff to positively identify her nesting location in the 2001 season.
The winter eagle study on the St. Lawrence River has been ongoing for a number of years. Eagles captured in the study provide information on the origin of the wintering population and winter roost locations, how faithful eagles are to nesting and wintering grounds, and the overall health of the eagles. Winter aerial surveys provide approximate numbers of eagles in residence during the winter months, and this year's total set a new record with a count of 64. Another record was set in New York State in the 2000 bald eagle nesting season, a total of 51 breeding pairs were recorded along with a total of 71 young fledged from those nests.