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First Golden Eagle Released into the Wild in 35 Years | Environment

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First Golden Eagle Released into the Wild in 35 Years
First Golden Eagle Released into the Wild in 35 Years

East Aurora, NY - The young female golden eagle hatched last spring at Hawk Creek Wildlife Center was successfully released into the wild on January 15, 2012 after attending “eagle college” at the World Bird Sanctuary in St. Louis, Missouri. This momentous event was the first golden eagle release in the renowned Sanctuary’s 35 year existence. The appropriately named, “Legacy”, was returned to the same Midwest skies her permanently injured mother once soared in decades before. The eagle’s much anticipated release in St. Louis was captured through TV coverage and can be viewed at facebook.com/hawkcreekwildlife.

Legacy entered the world as a joyous surprise on May 16, 2011. Her parents, the 40 year old female golden eagle, Cherokee, and her 20 year old mate named Canyon both sustained previous injuries in the wild before being taken in by Hawk Creek in 2003 and 1995 respectively. Due to their age and life in captivity, a successful hatching was never anticipated. These two adult eagles proved that hope, faith, and the will to persevere can make the unimaginable, a reality. Legacy’s arrival was truly a miracle.

The remarkable young Legacy astounded her fans once again by confidently soaring into the blue skies this week after completing months of preparation for life in the wild. Back in September 2011, Hawk Creek staff drove the feathered passenger to the World Bird Sanctuary of St. Louis, Missouri for training. It was at this “eagle college’ that young Legacy built up the strength for flight and learned hunting skills crucial to her survival. The Sanctuary staff reported that Legacy spent her final week flying exuberantly, as if she sensed her coming release. And, although female eagles are typically 25% larger than their male counterparts, Legacy impressed everyone with her unusually immense size which proved too large for even the widest identification leg band.

Countless individuals touched by her story around the nation, now hope for her successful survival in the wild. Only time will now determine if Legacy’s lessons have equipped her for finding a wild golden eagle mate out west. Together, Legacy and her mate will help strengthen America’s declining golden eagle populations and begin a legacy of their own.

Hawk Creek Wildlife Center wishes to thank the World Bird Sanctuary for making Legacy’s release possible so that she may incite awareness of her kind while helping to replenish declining populations of America’s majestic golden eagle. To hear more about Legacy and other exciting wildlife news at Hawk Creek Wildlife Center, “Like” us at - facebook.com/hawkcreekwildlife, and subscribe to our FREE E-News at www.hawkcreek.org.


Hawk Creek Wildlife Center, Inc. has been featured on Rachael Ray, Conan O’Brien, PBS, and was voted a Blue Planet Hero by National Geographic. Over 80 non-releasable animals from around the world call Hawk Creek home while hundreds more are rehabilitated at the Center each year. Founded in East Aurora in 1987, Hawk Creek is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to providing wildlife education, rehabilitation, and conservation services to the community.

Hawk Creek Wildlife Center, Inc. PO Box 662 East Aurora, NY 14051

Environmental Education - Wildlife Rehabilitation - Conservation


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