Escaped Dollywood Bald Eagle Reunites With Mate of 22 Years
On October 24, 2011, the Bald Eagle ‘Volunteer’ that had previously escaped from its Dollywood aviary on Sept. 11, 2011 and that was captured on Oct. 23, has been reunited with his life-long mate Hero. They have been love birds for 22 years and have raised a number of young together.
American Eagle Foundation president Al Cecere said, “Bald Eagles mate for life. They only change mates if their faithful companion should die.”
Because Volunteer was raised from a youngster at a California zoo (after being removed from a wild nest), he never learned to hunt or fish. During his recent stint in the wild, he could have eventually starved or been injured or killed.
“It’s great to have Volunteer back safe and with Hero again. Perhaps they will mate again and produce young this year,” said Cecere.
Volunteer and Hero will stay in a temporary off-park breeding aviary for now and spend some time in private alone, but will later be moved back to their “Eagle Mountain Sanctuary” aviary located on the Dollywood park – probably sometime before Thanksgiving or Christmas. They will be on exhibit at Dollywood during the 2012 season.
The hole in the netted ceiling of that aviary, previously caused by a storm or raccoon, has now been repaired.
Eagle Mountain Sanctuary at Dollywood opened in 1991 and is the largest presentation of non-releasable permanently disabled Bald Eagles in the world.