"I hope you love birds too. It is economical. It saves going to heaven."
Emily Dickinson

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Shasta the bald eagle recently spotted in British Columbia

Shasta with adult white plumage, spotted at Glendale Cove, British Columbia, Sept. 4, 2017. Photo by Robert Higgs

Shasta, with juvenile plumage, in Laguna Beach, Calif., April 17, 2015. Photo by Adrienne Helitzer

I recently received a note from Robert Higgs, who captured the top photo on Sept. 4 at the estuary at Glendale Cove, Knight Inlet, British Columbia while on vacation. 

"I was with my wife, Jean, and the General Manager of the Knight Inlet Lodge, Brian Collen, when we spotted Shasta," Higgs said. "We saw her fly in and she settled high up in the tree. It was a few minutes before we noticed something orange on her wing – and it was only with binoculars that we were able to identify it as a tag – and the number 32."

Higgs discovered that the orange wing marker #32 belonged to a bald eagle named Shasta on the Institute of Wildlife Studies website. 

"Her feathers were smooth – and she looked to be in great condition – healthy, strong, very fine, elegant and regal," he said. "We watched her continuously whist she was perched in the tree, during which time, whilst she was clearly very alert, she appeared to be resting. After about 20 minutes of observing her we watched her fly away – and it was then that we noticed additional tags underneath."

Shasta hatched on Catalina Island in March 2013, which makes her about 4 1/2 years old. Bald eagles develop the distinctive adult white plumage on the head and tail at about age 4 or 5.

"Reflecting upon the jouney she has made, I now feel a strange, emotional attachment to Shasta," Higgs said. 

 The bald eagle was the focus of my column on April 30, 2015, read the complete story in The Orange County Register.

To report additional sightings of Shasta or other banded birds, go to reportband.gov

Happy Birding!

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