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12-Week-Old Eaglets Luna, Phoenix, and Nova Released Into Wild

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Nova, one of the eaglets from the Smoky Mountain nest of Bald Eagles Lady Independence & Sir Hatcher II, fledged from the AEF Hack Tower on June 28, 2018, wearing Patagial Wing Tag N18.

Nova, one of the eaglets from the Smoky Mountain nest of Bald Eagles Lady Independence & Sir Hatcher II, fledged from the AEF Hack Tower on June 28, 2018, wearing Patagial Wing Tag N18. Phoenix is wearing Patagial Tag P18 and Luna is wearing Patagial Tag L18.

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Dandridge, TN – On Thursday morning, June 28th, the non-profit American Eagle Foundation (AEF) released three 12-week-old Bald Eaglets into the wild to honor local first responders for Pigeon Forge, Sevierville, and Gatlinburg. Representatives from each of these three municipalities were present at the release.

The three eaglets released—named Luna, Phoenix, and Nova—are wild-hatched eaglets from the local mated Bald Eagles named Lady Independence and Sir Hatcher II. This pair of Bald Eagles first built their nest directly adjacent to Kroger on Winfield Dunn Parkway, but have since relocated to a nest off Chapman Highway overlooking the Little Pigeon River. This is one of the AEF’s Live Stream Cam locations that provide unprecedented, high-definition insight into the Bald Eagle nesting process. (https://smeaglecam.org/)

During April and May 2018, the American Eagle Foundation’s Smoky Mountain Bald Eagle Nest in Sevierville, became the focus of environmental issues that impact Bald Eagle nests and other wildlife around the country. On three different occasions, with the cooperation of USFWS, interventions had to be made to ensure the safety of the three young eaglets because of the presence of fishing line, hooks, and sinkers in the nest.

In April 2018, it was necessary to remove one of the eaglets from the nest because it had swallowed a hook brought into the nest along with a fish. Fortunately, veterinarians from the University of Tennessee Veterinary Hospital removed the hook, and the eaglet was returned to the nest the next day.

On May 21, 2018, after two more incidents with fishing line and hooks, a collective decision was made by the USFWS and the AEF to remove the three eaglets from the nest for the health and safety of the eaglets. They were placed in the AEF’s Hack Tower (or Artificial Nesting Tower) on Douglas Lake in Dandridge, TN.

The American Eagle Foundation has been releasing captive-hatched and translocated eaglets into the wild from its Douglas Lake Hack Towers since the early 90s. The release of Luna, Phoenix and Nova will bring the total number of eaglets released by the AEF on Douglas Lake to 162—in addition to the hundreds of other eaglet releases throughout Tennessee that the AEF has participated in.
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About the American Eagle Foundation

The American Eagle Foundation is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to care for, restore and protect the USA’ s living symbol of freedom, the Bald Eagle, and other birds of prey.  The AEF is celebrating its 33rd year of carrying out its mission through Education, Repopulation , Conservation, & Rehabilitation. It is headquartered in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains at Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge, TN. Learn more at www.eagles.org

Media Contacts
Laura Sterbens, 865-256-0372
Director of Operation and Publicity Coordinator
laura@eagles.org
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