Dollywood Bald Eagles
Pigeon Forge, TN
Live from the 'Pick-A-Mate' enclosure at Dollywood's Eagle Mountain Sanctuary
In Partnership with the American Eagle Foundation • Powered by HDOnTap
The largest enclosure at Dollywood's Eagle Mountain Sanctuary is called the ‘Pick a Mate’ section. It is the home of eligible bachelor and bachelorettes Eagles—all with physical disabilities but with at least partial flight ability. Many of our Bald Eagle breeding pairs throughout the years have resulted from two Eagles from this section choosing each other as mates, at which point they are given their own private enclosure with the hope that they will reproduce and raise Eaglets that will be released into the wild.
Introducing the Pick-A-Mate Bald Eagles!
Ankle Band #: SB (Orange)
Origin: Treasure Coast Wildlife (Florida)
In March 2012, Barbosa was treated for an injury to the right wing tip and a damaged right eye (blind). Barbosa was transferred to AEF from Treasure Coast Wildlife in Florida in August 2016.
Ankle Band #: RS (Orange)
Origin: San Francisco, California
Faithful was bonded to another non-releasable pair of Bald Eagle named Peace and they both lived in a large private aviary at the American Eagle Foundation. They hatched and raised numerous young as a part of the AEF’s Captive Breeding and Hacking programs.
Unfortunately, Peace passed away in 2016. Faithful was moved to Pick-a-Mate to reside with our other non-releasable Bald Eagles.
This pair was already bonded when they were transferred to the American Eagle Foundation from the San Francisco Zoo in 2007. In a ceremony honoring fallen soldiers, these two Eagles, along with three other non-releasable Bald Eagle breeding pairs were named by the families of these brave soldiers.
Peace was named in honor Sgt. Alfred Siler. Faithful was named in honor of Cpl. Rusty Washam.
In 2007, the American Eagle Foundation was chosen by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to receive four Bald Eagle breeding pairs from the San Francisco Zoo to care, originally it was to be five pairs, however one mate passed away prior to the transfer. The living mate of the pair is now a educational eagle.
These pairs were part of the San Francisco Zoo’s captive-breeding program. These regal birds had previously hatched numerous young eaglets, which were placed in wild nests located on the Channel Islands—as part of a Bald Eagle recovery project located off the coast of Los Angeles. The zoo concluded its successful breeding program after re-introducing more than 100 young Bald Eagles into the wild.
Accompanied by AEF President Al Cecere and Julia Cecere, the Eagle pairs flew over America—from San Francisco to Knoxville—on the wings of a special FedEx cargo jet on June 18 and 19 2007. After a physical check-up by University of Tennessee veterinarians, these eagles were placed into their new aviary homes in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains.
Disability: Left Wing Injury as a result of possible gunshot wound
Ankle Band #: RE (Orange)
Origin: Hamblen County, TN
Hamilton came to the AEF as an adult Bald Eagle. He was brought to the University of Tennessee Avian and Zoological Medicine on March 28th 2013 after being found in Hamblen County, TN. Physical examination and radiographs revealed a chronic fracture of the left ulna with some involvement of the elbow joint. Four pellets were noted within the body suggesting that the eagle may have been a gunshot victim. The Eagle was transferred to the American Eagle Foundation the following day, and then returned to UT on 24 May 2013 for reevaluation of the left wing and elbow joint, which appeared swollen. The joint contained a significant amount of fluid, some of which was aspirated and submitted for culture. The Eagle received medications for pain relief and antibiotics pending culture results, and returned again on 10 October 2013 for evaluation of the left wing. Again fluid was present within the joint. Radiographs confirmed swelling of the joint but also indicated damage to the radial and humeral bones at the joint and degenerative joint disease of the elbow. Repeat culture of the joint fluid did not reveal any bacteria. Subsequent to the recheck examination the joint appeared to be less swollen. Although Hamilton can fly, the chronic nature and severity of his joint disease made him an extremely poor candidate for release with any reasonable expectation that he would survive, thus he was placed permanently into his new home!
Disability: Injury to Left Patagium (limited range of motion)
Ankle Band #: PU (Orange)
Origin: Wildlife Center of Virginia
Kathy was admitted to the Wildlife Center as an adult on February 9th, 2007. On initial presentation, the bird had a large open laceration on the left patagium; the membrane on the leading edge of the wing. The wound healed, however, as a result of the injury the patagial ligament has constricted thus restricting full range of motion on the left wing. She was transferred to the American Eagle Foundation to live in her new home at Eagle Mountain Sanctuary. She recovered well and, despite her limited flight ability, is very strong and feisty!
Disability: Left Wing-tip Injury
Ankle Band #: RX (Orange)
Origin: Wildlife Center of Virginia
King George came to us in September 2015 as an adult from Wildlife Center of Virginia. He was found injured on August 2nd, 2013 in King George County, Virginia. Due to a traumatic event, his left wing tip was partially amputated, resulting in impaired flight ability.
Mr. Roosevelt (“Roo”)
Disability: Injuries to left foot and elbow.
Ankle Band #: RB (Orange)
Mr. Roosevelt was presented to the American Eagle Foundation and subsequently to the University of Tennessee Veterinary Medical Center on June 2, 2011 for evaluation. Mr. Roosevelt originated in Arkansas and the rehabilitator there believed that the Eagle was non-releasable. The veterinarian’s examination revealed injuries to the left foot, wrist and elbow. Injuries to the foot and wrist were resolved, but the elbow became a chronic problem. Mr. Roosevelt was treated several times with antibiotics and the joint improved; however, it became apparent that Mr. Roosevelt wouldn’t be able to fly well enough to be released back into the wild and was transferred to American Eagle Foundation November 2011.
He was placed in the PAM section and bonded with Eleanor. In 2016, the American Eagle Foundation found two eggs that were laid on the ground in Eagle Mountain Sanctuary, and the eggs were taken to the American Eagle Foundation’s incubation room. One eaglet hatched but unfortunately didn’t make it past its second week.
Later that year, the pair was moved into its own breeding enclosure with its own manmade nest in order to properly mate and raise young!
In 2017, the pair successfully hatched and raised two eaglets! They became the stars of the Dollywood Eagle Cams project, impressing thousands of viewers with their impressive first-time parenting skills.
Sadly on Jan. 17, 2018, Eleanor (Ellie) was found deceased from unknown causes in the aviary, and Mr. Roosevelt was placed back in PAM in hopes he will find another mate.
For more information about the Eagle Mountain Sanctuary click here.
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