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.
August 5: As anticipated, MN72 seems to have settled along the shoreline of the Saint-François River in an area where there are adequate resources -- food, water, and shelter. This zoomed-in view of the satellite imagery shows MN72 spends much of his time in an area with numerous trees. Additionally, several motorized watercraft can be seen.
July 23: MN72 has an exciting update! As anticipated, he appears to be heading directly north toward the same Canadian summering grounds he's traveled to each year since 2018. According to the available tracking data, he left the Indian Head, Maryland area sometime around July 2. On July 5, he had covered around 90 miles and crossed the state line into Pennsylvania. It took MN72 approximately ten days of flying to traverse the state, entering southern New York on July 12. Six days later, he had flown over the entire Adirondack Mountain range and appears to have stopped on the western shore of Lake Champlain for a short time.
An interesting data point would suggest that MN72 entered Vermont, but based on the near-perfect straight line of travel, it's more likely that this represents an error in the GPS tracking unit's data collection.
After flying more than 480 miles in less than two weeks, MN72 officially left the United States and entered Quebec, Canada on July 18 at approximately 4:00 PM! Since then, he's flown about 70 miles north to his current location: the precise and exact same shoreline of the Saint-François River in Quebec where he spent time in both 2018 and 2019.
In his coming updates, we'll take a closer look at the shoreline where he's currently located and compare the data to year's past -- a fascinating glimpse into the life of this wild Bald Eagle!
June 22: MN72 hasn't moved far from the areas where he was seen in his previous update, but we'll be keeping a close eye on his tracking data during the coming weeks. In 2019, MN72 flew from Maryland to Quebec, Canada in a matter of days, returning to Indian Head a number of months later. In 2018, he made a similar journey -- Maryland to Quebec and back again, after the summer months. Both years, MN72 left for Canada during the fourth week of June. It's unknown if he'll make a similar flight this year, but we'll be watching and updating his location with great interest!