Minnesota's famous eagle ambassador Harriet dies at 35
ST. PAUL -- One of Minnesota's most famous eagles has died at age 35.Harriet, the oldest eagle ambassador at the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, Minn., arrived at the center in 2000, a couple of years after suffering severe injuries from an acc...
ST. PAUL - One of Minnesota's most famous eagles has died at age 35.
Harriet, the oldest eagle ambassador at the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, Minn., arrived at the center in 2000, a couple of years after suffering severe injuries from an accident with a vehicle that left her unable to return to the wild.
Over her 15 years at the center, Harriet became one of its most popular eagles. She was easily recognizable, thanks to a feather tuft on her head, a result of scar tissue and damage to feather follicles.
Not only was she familiar to the thousands of people who visit the center each year, she was also nationally known. Along with making appearances on "The Today Show," "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" and "The Colbert Report," she traveled to Washington, D.C., in 2007 when the bald eagle - America's national bird - was removed from the endangered species list. Harriet is also the featured eagle on the Minnesota Support Our Troops license plate.
Harriet's origins can be traced to 1981 in Vilas County, Wis. As an eaglet, she was banded by a researcher with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, according to the National Eagle Center. In 1988, Harriet was in a collision with a vehicle, which left her with multiple injuries and resulted in a partial amputation of her left wing. In 2000, she moved into the National Eagle Center. Harriet, whose name was inspired by Harriet Tubman, was one of the center's first eagle ambassadors.
Last year, Harriet retired from her post at the National Eagle Center and was moved to an off-site facility. After declining health - she suffered ongoing issues including arthritis, cataracts and the long-term effects from her injuries - she was euthanized Wednesday in St. Paul at the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota.
"We believe the kindest thing to do was to keep her from a painful end and let her die peacefully in expert care," said Rolf Thompson, National Eagle Center executive director, in a news release. "When they told us there is nothing more we can do, we knew that the time had come to let her go."
While most eagles don't make it to adulthood, according to the National Eagle Center, those that do can live to be 20 to 25 years in the wild. In captivity, eagles can live more than 40 years.