On August 19, 2017, a hatch-year male Bald Eagle was released at Mason Neck State Park in Fairfax County, Virginia. The eagle was rescued in Alexandria in May 2017. Read more about the eagle’s history and rehabilitation here. Prior to release, the eagle was fitted with a GPS transmitter.
At the Center, the eagle was known as #17-1181 – the 1,181st patient admitted to the Center in 2017. Now, the eagle will be known as MN72. “MN” represents Mason Neck, where the eagle was released. The numbers are the last two digits on the transmitter that the eagle is wearing. Each transmitter has a five-digit number written on the side of it in permanent black marker so that the eagle could possibly be identified at a distance.
July 21: During the past week, MN72 has been flying throughout a very small area compared to his recent travels. After spending a few days in what looks to be a forested patch of shoreline, he flew west while following the contours of the Saint-François River for about two miles. Soon after, he returned to the same shoreline, flying over an agricultural area rather than following the river. A closer inspection of the satellite imagery suggests there may be an unpaved road near his current location. Otherwise, the closest area with an obvious human presence is Pierreville, QC -- a small municipality with a population of 2,176, according to the Canada 2011 Census.
July 13: Following a short lapse in data transmission from June 29 to July 6, MN72's transmitter has come back online and shows that he didn't stay in Maine for very long. During the past two weeks, he began his travels by flying west and re-entering Quebec at approximately 6:00 p.m. on July 5. The following day, he made an abrupt northerly turn (possibly following the contours of the Canard River) and spent several days flying back and forth over the city of Disraeli. By July 10, he was headed west once more. After covering roughly 84 miles, he seems to have made another change in direction based on an encounter with a significant water feature -- the Richelieu River. Continuing northward, MN72 arrived at a familiar location on July 11 at around 4:00 p.m.
After flying more than 600 miles in less than one month (and making an unexpected detour into Maine), Bald Eagle MN72 has settled into a forested shoreline where the Saint-François and St Lawrence Rivers meet -- the precise location where he's spent the summer months each year from 2018 onward. Based on his history, it's likely that MN72 will remain in a small area during the coming months, and we'll be keeping a close eye on his tracking data throughout this time.
June 29: MN72 has an exciting update! Starting in 2018, MN72 has left the Mid-Atlantic -- always during the month of June -- and flown hundreds of miles north to Quebec. After spending the summer months on the Saint-François River, he returns to the Chesapeake Bay until the following summer. It's not certain that his current movements are following this same pattern, but his tracking data suggests that this might be the case.
MN72 left the Indian Head, Maryland area sometime between June 8 and June 9. By June 14, he had flown north past Baltimore and had entered Pennsylvania. Continuing northeast, he crossed into southern New York on June 18. Briefly flying through Massachusetts the next day, MN72 officially crossed the border into Canada on the 21st. Several days later, he turned southeast and entered Maine. Currently, he appears to be turning northward again. In total, he's covered more than 550 miles during the past 21 days.