As the end of the year approaches, Patch recaps the biggest stories of 2012—both in terms of pageviews and impact on the Mendota Heights community. The following article was posted March 5, 2012.
Editor's Note: Dodge Nature Center posted this update on Tuesday: "Sadly, our Kestrel was put down today. Last Friday, after returning from the Raptor Center and putting our Eagle down, Naturalist Pam had to return as the Kestrel was having difficulty breathing. The Kestrel was put on oxygen for the weekend but could not handle the stress of breathing."
The American bald eagle that has called Dodge Nature Center home for 33 years has died.
The bird, estimated to be about 35 years old, was hospitalized March 2 for complications from advanced age, and was euthanized, according to a statement released by Dodge on Monday.
The eagle arrived at Dodge Nature Center in 1979, after being hit by a car in northern Minnesota and losing one of her wings. Unfit to survive in nature, the eagle became a celebrated addition to the center’s education efforts.
She took her position as "first chair" in the mews at the Marie Avenue entrance, said Development Director John Chandler.
Visitors and volunteers approaching her would be announced by the eagle's signature scream. "That’s very cool, not only for children but people of all ages," said Chandler.
A post on Dodge’s Facebook page has elicited a number of condolences and memories of the eagle’s place at the center.
“Sad news. I remember her from when I worked there many years ago. But she had a long life and was well cared for. And so many people got to see her up close - not something everyone can experience with our national symbol,” commented Pauline Quale Bold.
Chandler said it was not uncommon for local anglers to deliver fresh fish to the nature center for the eagle's meals.
The center officially launched a raptor program in 1982. While other birds that became part of the program were brought out into the community, the eagle only left the property for medical check-ups at the University of Minnesota Raptor Center.