All News, Updates & Events
Wild Bald Eagles ‘Romeo’ & ‘Juliet’ hatch first egg / eaglet in time for Christmas, exciting viewers worldwide!
On Sunday December 13th at 8 p.m., Christmas at the Smoky Mountain Opry will host an exclusive Holiday Benefit Show featuring American Idol’s Clark Beckham, singer/songwriter James Rogers, and the famous free-flying Bald Eagle Challenger. VIP Tickets are selling for $125 (100% of VIP ticket proceeds support the non-profit AEF and can be claimed as a tax-deductible donation).
Before Challenger soars around the stadium for his stirring portion of the pregame routine, the Bald Eagle takes the same trip upstairs as many fans heading to the upper deck. He rides the elevator.
For nearly 15 years, the AEF has been releasing captive-bred and translocated Eaglets in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains from its Hack Tower on Douglas Lake. In 2015, we experienced yet another successful breeding and hacking season with the release of 10 young Bald Eaglets!
American Idol runner-up Clark Beckham, American Eagle Foundation President Al Cecere, and celebrity educational Bald Eagle ‘Challenger’ meet at the Smoky Mountain Opry Theater in Pigeon Forge to promote a special December 13th benefit show supporting the non-profit eagle care and protection charity.
The partnership between the American Eagle Foundation and Field & Stream began in the summer of 2013. Through the end of 2015, the AEF has participated in the Grand Openings of 17 Field & Stream stores, accompanied by Bald Eagles Challenger, Mr. Lincoln, and Spirit.
The famous educational ambassador Bald Eagle ‘Challenger’ revisited Ground Zero in NYC during 2015.
Around 225 Lincoln Elementary School students could not contain their excitement Thursday afternoon when learning about eagles from an American Eagle Foundation moderator that some interacted with through web-based class lessons.
Both Dollywood and AEF are celebrating their 30th anniversaries this year, and it turns out that these disabled Bald Eagle parents, named ‘Independence’ and ‘Franklin,’ are raising their 30th eaglet.
Each year, Bill and Tani Austin of the Starkey Foundation, hold a gala in St. Paul Minnesota to raise money for their hearing foundation. Tables are “purchased” at different prices by individuals, groups, or companies. In addition, both a silent auction and a live auction are held, raising additional funds, which are used by Starkey to fund their mission.
As June 18 approached, signaling another AEF Reunion combined with American Eagle Day, excitement built to over-the-top levels! Emails and Facebook posts lit up the Internet – filled with anticipation as to what these three days would bring. Finally, everyone participating in Reunion had arrived! Reservations for the Reunion topped out at 100, with more on the waiting list.
An Eagle released into the wild by the American Eagle Foundation back in 2008, is now back home to start her own family.
On behalf of Charity Navigator, I wish to congratulate American Eagle Foundation on achieving our coveted 4-star rating for sound fiscal management and commitment to accountability and transparency.
New York City Audubon confirmed that a pair of bald eagles are nesting on the South Shore of Staten Island, the first such touchdown in the city in 100 years.
Non-releasable Bald Eagles Independence and Franklin live in an enormous aviary at Dollywood on AEF’s Eagle Mountain Sanctuary. Since 2002, they have successfully raised 29 eaglets that have been released into the wild.
Washington D.C. is joining the effort to establish a national American Eagle day.
Before the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final began on April 6, 2015, the air was electric with excitement inside Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Duke Blue Devils vs Wisconsin Badgers – both teams poised to claim victory.
The American Eagle Foundation (AEF) is in its second year of streaming live HD video from a wild Bald Eagle nest in Northeast Florida. For 7 documented seasons, Bald Eagle pair ‘Romeo’ & ‘Juliet’ have returned to their nest high atop a slash pine tree to renew their bond and raise a new family of eaglets. This year, a second HD camera was added—or a total of 3 HD cams on the nest, allowing for unparalleled views in the daily life of these eagles. Hundreds of thousands of viewers have watched at www.eagles.org.
Bald Eagle Challenger was part of the pre-race show before the start of the Daytona 500 Sunday. Before every event, Challenger is given an opportunity to practice, so that he will be familiar with the space into which he is flying
The American Eagle Foundation is proud to announce eight successful eagle grants applicants for 2015. This year, $100,038 in grants will be awarded. This is the third year the American Eagle Foundation has sponsored grants for work that conserves and protects eagles, awarding grants totaling in excess of $300,000. We appreciate the important work of these grantees, and are honored to be able to contribute to the continued success of the Bald Eagle.
For the past 2 years, the American Eagle Foundation has provided HD Live Video from a nest of wild Bald Eagles in Northeast Florida. The parent eagles, “Romeo” and “Juliet” built this sturdy nest and have been returning every fall to refurbish the nest, lay eggs, and raise their eaglets.
The American Eagle Foundation strongly believes that all generations should be educated about nature, the environment, and the beauty of Bald Eagles and birds of prey.
Fall means Football for American Eagle Foundation (AEF) staff and Bald Eagle Challenger. Challenger is loaded into his custom-made carrier, carefully placed inside a Delta plane, and flown to a variety of stadiums across the nation. Hundreds of thousands of sports enthusiasts are inevitably captivated as they watch this famous non-releasable, free-flying Bald Eagle, the U.S.A’s living symbol of Freedom, soar majestically over their heads and into the stadium as the Star Spangled Banner is performed during pre-game festivities.
Tens of thousands of eagle lovers and enthusiasts around the Globe have been watching the American Eagle Foundation’s High-Definition Video Cams placed over a wild nest in Northeast Florida—and for a very special reason. Two eggs have hatched over the past several days. One of those happened to hatch Christmas Day, December 25, 2014.
Challenger the Bald Eagle soared into an NFL stadium during the National Anthem—wearing a camera!
High up in a Longleaf Pine tree, Romeo and Juliet built a nest many years ago. Bonded for life, they return home to this nest each Fall to bring little ones into the world. This year, Romeo came back first. He was sighted on August 28th, 2014, and was often seen at the nest (and on other trees in the area) waiting patiently for his Juliet. Juliet stayed away longer than usual, but returned safe and sound on September 14th. After getting reacquainted, they earnestly began their “nestorations,” preparing for egg-laying and the raising of their new eaglets.
Amazon.Com has recently initiated a corporate philanthropy program which allows Amazon shoppers to direct 0.5 percent of purchases they make at Amazon to the charitable organization of their choice. Amazon will then donate the money on behalf of the customers to that organization.
Retired TWRA Biologist Bob Hatcher was laid to rest today (July 27, 2014) after a funeral service at Antioch Methodist Church in Nashville. The following is about about Bob and an eagle release a few weeks prior to his passing.
Tennessee’s leading wildlife advocates honor a man who who spearheaded the state’s Bald Eagle recovery efforts for decades.
This spring, three pairs of non-releasable Bald Eagles laid eggs inside the enormous aviary at Eagle Mountain Sanctuary on the Dollywood Park. Three eaglets grew up in two nests: Isaiah & Mrs. Jefferson raised their own two, and Hero & Volunteer skillfully fostered a baby eaglet when their own eggs were determined to be infertile. Franklin & Independence, the third pair, laid three infertile eggs and did not raise babies this year.
This is the story of how an injured eagle from the Spokane, WA area was rescued, rehabilitated, released, rescued again—before eventually finding a forever home at the American Eagle Foundation.
Following an AEF Memorial Day tradition that has been going on for several years, Al Cecere and AEF crew off to New York City and Chicago with the American Eagle Foundation’s Bald Eagle Challenger for two major events.
On April 24, 2014, the American Eagle Foundation released a one-year-old male Bald Eagle “Winfield” back into the wild.
“By itself, it’s a great, yet challenging, success story. We love seeing an eagle fly free again after being rehabilitated. This particular case, however, comes with an extremely amazing backstory that began in Alaska,” said AEF Founder and President Al Cecere.
Live long and prosper, eaglets. We wish you Godspeed and safe journeys.
Axis Communications, the global leader in network HD video, issued a press release on Earth Day, April 22, recognizing non-profit organizations that raise awareness about wildlife and conservation projects by streaming live video of animal habitats using Axis Cameras.
On April 20, a 6-week-old captive-hatched Bald Eaglet arrived from the Wildlife Sanctuary of Florida for eventual release into the foothills of the Smoky Mountains.
In the Spring of 2013, a beautiful juvenile Bald Eagle was discovered in Tellico Plains, TN with a gunshot wound in one of her wings.
On August 2, 2013, Destiny and Thunderbird, offspring of non-releasable Bald Eagles Independence and Franklin, fledged from the American Eagle Foundation hack tower on Douglas Lake in East Tennessee.
For 20 years, Celebrity Fight Night has raised many millions of dollars for charities, including the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center at Barrow Neurological Institute. Countless lives have been changed because of the generosity of those who support this event.
On April 4th, American Eagle Foundation President Al Cecere and staff members Laura Sterbens, Julia Cecere, Robert West, and Bald Eagle Challenger participated in the opening ceremonies of an award dinner honoring 106 scholarship recipients at the 2014 National Scholars Conference and Horatio Alger Awards Induction Ceremonies in Washington D.C.
Tens of thousands of people watched with joy and anticipation as the AEF’s high definition video cams streamed every minute of the birth of baby eaglets, Samson (Dec. 23, 2013) and Delilah (Dec. 20, 2013).
Since Tennessee’s Bald Eagle recovery efforts began in 1980, strategic partnerships have been crucial to accomplishing Bald Eagle conservation goals. Steve Ward, Manager of the Radnor Lake State Natural Area of Nashville, TN, recently invited the American Eagle Foundation (AEF) to partner with Radnor Lake this coming year to update their Bald Eagle display and to finalize the design of Radnor’s Bald Eagle aviary, which is already under construction and is expected to open in Spring of 2014.
During the summer of 2013, a film crew from Nat Geo Wild’s “We Move Animals” visited the American Eagle Foundation in Pigeon Forge, TN.
We now have another stunning video to share with you! See the eagle Challenger soar at major events over the past five years, accompanied by a beautiful a cappella rendition of The Star Spangled Banner.
The Bald Eagle Challenger’s last flight of the 2013 NFL season took place on Jan. 4, 2014 at the Indianapolis Colts’ stadium during their NFL Wildcard Playoff game against the Kansas City Chiefs. With artic temperatures and snow outside, Challenger and the AEF crew were grateful to be indoors at Lucas Field.
On the 40th anniversary of the Endangered Specied Act (December 28, 2013), the Endangered Species Coalition marked this important milestone with a new report highlighting 10 of the great wildlife conservation accomplishments since the Act’s passage in 1973.
While in New York City on November 12, 2013, the Bald Eagle Challenger and Al Cecere filmed a ChannelOne News segment titled “Pop Quiz: The Bald Eagle.” This episode was broadcast to 7,000 schools nationwide on December 17, 2013.
On December 9th, Al appeared on Fox News to discuss the ramifications of this extension, stating: “I think this is appalling and outrageous. I don’t think this is good conservation policy. I think this is a lot of politics, and, believe me, I educate people on both sides of the aisle. I’ve been saving eagles for nearly 30 years. It took over 30 years to bring the Bald Eagle back from the brink of extinction.
In November 2013, the American Eagle Foundation announced the winners of its 2014 nationwide Bald Eagle project grants. AEF awarded $99,986 for projects within the grant limit of $100,000 for 2014. The following 8 winning projects are listed alphabetically (by lead agency), with most having multiple partners and cooperators:
On November 17, 2013, the Houston Texans hosted the Oakland Raiders at their Military Appreciation Game inside Reliant Stadium. Presidents George W. Bush and George H. W. Bush, First Lady Barbara Bush, and First Lady Laura Bush were among those guests who saw the Bald Eagle Challenger fly during the Gatlin Brothers’ rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.