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.
October 5: It appears that MN72 may have begun his journey back to the United States slightly ahead of schedule, according to his tracking data during the past week! On September 29, he began moving south, leaving the Saint-François River behind and flying approximately 35 miles towards Saint-Pie -- a city in the Montérégie region of southwest Quebec. He’s spent the past five days in the same area. Based on the satellite imagery, the city is located on the Black River with abundant agricultural areas nearby.
September 28: During the past four weeks, MN72 hasn’t moved very far away from the Saint-François River tributary where he’s known to spend the summer months. Interestingly, though, he can be seen completing a 40-mile round-trip flight. After moving east along the Saint-François, he turned north and meandered back to his normal area over the course of a few days. During 2020, he began the long journey back to Virginia in early October. We’ll be checking his tracking data closely during the coming weeks!
August 30: MN72 can be seen flying throughout slightly larger area during the past month compared to his previous update. While he seems to still be spending the majority of his time on the water’s edge where the Saint Lawrence and Saint-François Rivers converge, he’s also made a few trips farther inland. In total, he’s been flying throughout an area that’s roughly four miles in diameter. In past years, MN72 began flying south toward the United States in mid-September. It’s unknown whether or not he’ll make the same movements this year, but we’ll be keeping a close eye on his tracking data in the meantime.