If you’re the dean of American bald eagles, your life should conclude more gloriously than by getting hit by a car in the middle of nowhere while you’re dining on a freshly-killed rabbit.
A name wouldn’t be a bad idea either. But that’s the fate that struck 0629-03142, officials have determined. He was the oldest living bald eagle — 38 years old — when he died in upstate New York a week and a half ago, struck by a car in Henrietta, N.Y.
|The leg band on the oldest documented bald eagle.|
N.Y. Department of Environmental Conservation
He was one of us — a Minnesotan who, like a lot of Minnesotans, moved away at a young age after an initial upbringing in northern Minnesota in the mid-’70s.
“We hired a tree climber, who climbed up white pines, 80 to 90 feet, to eagle’s nests, put a chick in cloth bag and lowered it by rope to the ground,” Carrol Henderson, former head of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources nongame wildlife program, tells the Star Tribune. “We always took just one chick from a nest, and left a healthy chick.”