All News, Updates & Events
Who would have believed an eaglet blown from his wild nest during a storm and involved in several life threatening situations would turn his near tragedies into so many triumphs? Challenger faced personal battles and bounced back to overcome his hardships. He did not give up and neither did the people who have supported him with their care and love.
On September 15, 2013, the AEF team (Al Cecere, Laura Sterbens, Julia Cecere, Rob West, and Christian Knatt) were in Philadelphia, PA to attend the Philadelphia Eagles Season Opener against the San Diego Chargers. Challenger awed the crowd as he soared over a field-sized flag for over a minute, held proudly by our servicemen and servicewomen during the presentation of the Star Spangled Banner.
September 14, 2013, Al Cecere and Bald Eagle Challenger appeared on Fox & Friends in New York. In this interview, Al talks about the dangers from wind turbines to wildlife.
This blog documents significant observations regarding the journeys of Destiny (Patagial Tag L3) & Thunderbird (Patagial Tag K3).
For the first time ever, the American Eagle Foundation placed satellite transmitters on two 13-week-old eaglets, Destiny & Thunderbird in order to document their travels.
The American Eagle is slowly being repopulated after years of decline thanks to the American Eagle Foundation, which Friday released two young birds into the wild at their hack tower location in Dandridge.
The last of nine eaglets hatched at the American Eagle Foundation at Dollywood this summer were released into the wild on Friday, August 2, 2013. The foundation released the 13-week-old male and female birds at Douglas Lake.
On June 16, 2013, the two 6-week-old eaglets from the nest of non-releasable Bald Eagles ‘Independence’ and ‘Franklin’ were taken to the American Eagle Foundation’s Hack Tower, overlooking Douglas Lake in East Tennessee. They will spend approximately 7 weeks in the Hack Tower, acclimating to their new environment and growing strong enough to fly free.
Two bald eaglets rescued Monday may make their first flights after a fast-moving storm destroyed their Sevier County nest and sent them tumbling some 75 feet to the ground.
Traditionally, Memorial Day weekend is a major event for the American Eagle Foundation. This year was no exception. Al Cecere and ambassador Bald Eagle Challenger appeared on Fox & Friends TV Show on Saturday morning, May 25. After finishing up with the TV interview, AEF staff and Challenger then flew to Charlotte to participate in opening ceremonies at the Coca Cola 600 race on Sunday evening (May 26).
When Eagle Springs Winery opened its doors in late Fall of 2012, a partnership was planned with the American Eagle Foundation. The idea was to produce and bottle 1,000 special labels for the Foundation and donate $5 for every bottle sold.
The Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are investigating the shooting of two (2) bald eagles in eastern Tennessee. A reward of up to $22,000 ($11,000 per eagle/ responsible subject) is being offered for information leading to a conviction of the person or persons responsible for shooting these eagles.
The University of Iowa’s State Hygienic Laboratory is working with researchers from Iowa State University to study and test lead levels of Bald Eagles in Iowa. Iowa is home to 5000 wintering and nesting bald eagles. The collaboration between the two universities will benefit the eagle population and the state. The research, published May 13, 2013, was part of a 2-year study and made possible by a state wildlife grant and the American Eagle Foundation.
During 2012, the American Eagle Foundation provided a grant to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to prepare a 20-minute video that provides guidelines for volunteers to monitor bald eagle nesting, under guidance of state wildlife agencies and conservation organizations.
In a small, tucked away corner of Sevier County near one of the most popular amusement parks in the country, a group of dedicated workers is helping our national symbol – the Bald Eagle.
On April 4-6, 2013, the Horatio Alger Awards were held in Washington, D.C. to recognize individuals who have achieved despite adversity and to celebrate the power of education.
Helicopters reportedly flew too close to a bald eagle nest in a field near Kroger on Highway 66 (Winfield Dunn Parkway) in Sevierville, but an official from the American Eagle Foundation and representatives from two helicopter tour companies say the issue has been resolved.
On March 23, 2013, AEF staff and Bald Eagle Challenger participated in the opening ceremonies of the Muhammad Ali Fight Night in Phoenix, AZ.
On Feb. 21, 2013, Al Cecere was chosen as a finalist in the Rare Life Honor Award and was given a $3,000 grant from the Eagle Rare Bourbon company to be used by the charity of his choice. Of course, Al picked the American Eagle Foundation to be the recipient.
The AEF’s eagle Challenger and staff were busy as usual during the 2012 football season. Beginning with an appearance at the Titans vs Steelers Game in Nashville on October 11, other venues followed at a fast pace.
On November 28, 2012, Al Cecere, Founder and President of the American Eagle Foundation, was honored on the GAC national cable network’s Great American Heroes TV show hosted by country music artist Trace Adkins. Al was recognized for his 30 years of dedication and accomplishments contributing to the rebound of our National Symbol, the Bald Eagle, through his passionate work at the AEF.
On November 14, 2012, Independence Bank of Kentucky sponsored a challenge for their employees to come up with ways to give back to the local community. Ideas had to be self-sustaining, with the goal of continuing to give back to the community for a long time to come.
The American Eagle Foundation (www.eagles.org) has been a major proponent of establishing a special national day to celebrate the Bald Eagle’s symbolism and dramatic recovery from the brink of extinction.
Lights, Cameras, ACTION! Celebrity Bald Eagles Independence and Franklin will continue starring in their live reality TV show for another season from inside their newly refurbished nest located inside Eagle Mountain Sanctuary at Dolly Parton’s Dollywood theme park located in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains—but it’s not exactly an edition of Extreme Home Makeover.
In 2010, a Golden Eagle was accidentally caught in 2 steel leg-hold traps which were baited with deer meat. At first, the eagle caught a talon in his left foot; then, struggling to free itself, the eagle fell into the second trap which tore into its breast. Struggling against both traps, the eagle sustained more and more damage to its chest. When it was discovered, the eagle was taken to the University of Tennessee School of Veterinary Medicine and treated for its injuries. The talon had to be amputated, and the eagle was then taken to the American Eagle Foundation for rehabilitation.
The American Eagle Foundation has announced the winners of its first annual nationwide Bald Eagle project grants.
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.
‘Volunteer,’ the bald eagle who escaped from Dollywood more than three weeks ago, is recovering from his adventures. He may not be able to talk about his experiences, but his body tells at least part of the tale. He was a bit dehydrated and probably weighs a bit less, but so far, his vet said he looks pretty good.
The non-profit American Eagle Foundation (www.eagles.org) released three captive-hatched Bald Eaglets into the wild. One eaglet was named Halo in honor of Sgt. First Class Carlos M. Santos-Silva who was killed in action during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan on March 22, 2010.
Two 13-week old bald eaglets named the ‘Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’ were released into the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains on Thursday, July 14, by the non-profit American Eagle Foundation (www.eagles.org) from an artificial nesting tower located on Douglas Lake in East Tennessee.
Rising to their feet in University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz., more than 67,000 spectators cover their hearts with their palms as the West Point Military Academy Glee Club begins to sing The Star-Spangled Banner. Young members of the Southwest Iowa Honor Marching Band, clad in blue jeans and white T-shirts, scurry across the football field, quickly unfurling a giant American flag until it gently waves like a red, white and blue ocean above the turf.
People from all over the world have their eyes trained on East Tennessee. That’s because anyone from anywhere who has an Internet connection can watch three Pigeon Forge eaglets growing up in their nest.
While tending to their nesting duties, non-releasable Bald Eagles ‘Franklin’ and ‘Independence,’ cared for by the non-profit American Eagle Foundation (www.eagles.org), recently survived severe storms that passed through the East Tennessee area.
The American Eagle Foundation (www.eagles.org) released a 14-week-old Bald Eaglet into the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains Sunday afternoon (4-17-2011) to honor U.S. Army Ranger Cpl. Ryan C. McGhee (http://for-ryan-from-mom.webs.com/) who was given the Purple Heart, Bronze Star (with V-Device) and other awards for helping save the lives of two of his fellow soldier in Iraq when they were pinned down by enemy gunfire. The majestic young eagle had previously been hatched and raised in Tennessee by AEF staff from an egg rescued from a stadium lighting tower nest in Sarasota, Florida.
The non-profit American Eagle Foundation (www.eagles.org) has announced that a Bald Eaglet hatched from an egg rescued last December from a lighting tower nest at the Orioles’ spring training ballpark in Sarasota, Florida was recently transported to an artificial nesting tower on Douglas Lake in East Tennessee (on Feb. 11, 2011). The eaglet previously had hatched from its egg inside an incubator and was fed with an eagle puppet at the AEF’s United States Eagle Center in Pigeon Forge, TN.
The Baltimore Orioles play at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota. But earlier this winter, the stadium was home to a different kind of bird. It was a windy day in mid-December when the American Eagle Foundation from Pigeon Forge arrived in Florida to help rescue two Bald Eagle eggs from a new nest in a light tower high above the stadium.
The non-profit American Eagle Foundation (www.eagles.org) has announced that one of the two eggs that it rescued from a lighting tower nest at the Orioles’ spring training ballpark in Sarasota, Florida has hatched, and the eaglet is being fed by an eagle puppet to prevent human-imprinting.
Challenger, a rescued Bald Eagle unaffiliated with Auburn, flies before Monday’s BCS national championship (Jan. 10, 2011).
Pigeon Forge, TN – – Tennessee Governor Elect Bill Haslam and former TVA Chairman (and current board member) Bill Sansom recently joined the non-profit American Eagle Foundation (www.eagles.org) to release two rehabilitated bald eagles named “Cumberland” and “Patriot” on the Tennessee River near Knoxville in honor of America’s brave soldiers serving in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places globally.
Pigeon Forge, TN – – The non-profit American Eagle Foundation (www.eagles.org) was recently recruited by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and an environmental consulting firm to participate in a special bald eagle egg rescue operation in Florida that has made the Orioles very happy…the baseball team that is.
Titans quarterback Kerry Collins and Colts quarterback Peyton Manning aren’t the only ones hoping to put on impressive aerial shows tonight at LP Field. Before either player takes a snap, Challenger, the popular bald eagle named in honor of the lost space shuttle crew, will soar over the field during the playing of the national anthem.
Nashville, TN Nov. 21, 2010 — Challenger, the Bald Eagle, was presented during The Charlie Daniels Band’s performance of In America at the Grand Ole Opry show at the Ryman auditorium Saturday, November 20, 2010.
Al Cecere and ‘Challenger’ were guests on Fox and Friends in NYC to commemorate Veterans Day.
As Wayne and Marti Huizenga poured glasses of champagne for their friends and neighbors on Boone Lake, staff members from the American Eagle Foundation at Dollywood were weighing and banding an Osprey in the shadows of Huizenga’s private helicopter that brought the birds from Sevierville.
The Boston College Eagles won’t be the only eagles in town this weekend.
New York City, NY — Life Project for Africa (LPA), a charitable organization dedicated to supporting professional healthcare and childcare services to poor communities in Tanzania and southeast Africa, is pleased to announce that Al Louis Cecere has accepted an invitation to join the Life Project Board of Directors.
The non-profit American Eagle Foundation released two captive-hatched Bald Eaglets into the wild today from an artificial nesting tower located on Douglas Lake.
Pigeon Forge, TN – The American Eagle Foundation (www.eagles.org) recently released a rehabilitated immature Bald Eaglet on South Holston Lake near Bristol, Tennessee. The eaglet had been found by 17-year old Joe Slagle near the South Holston dam tangled in fishing line and with a hook in its wing.
The magnificent bald eagle, our living national symbol since 1782, may be off the endangered and threatened species lists, but it will require humanity’s assistance and protection for at least another 20 years to assure its continued recovery.