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National Eagle Center’s oldest eagle dies at 35

Harriet, the first eagle ambassador of the National Eagle Center in Wabasha and a familiar visitor to veterans homes, schools and nursing homes, is shown on her outdoor perch. She died Wednesday.

Harriet, the first eagle ambassador of the National Eagle Center in Wabasha, rescued after a collision with a vehicle and brought to the eagle center in 2000, died Wednesday, according to a release from the National Eagle Center.

Named for Harriet Tubman thanks to a first-grader’s essay upon the raptor’s arrival to the National Eagle Center, Harriet made appearances on “The Today Show,” “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno and was on hand in Washington, D.C., to celebrate the removal of the bald eagle from the endangered species list. She also is on the Minnesota Support Our Troops license plate.

Wednesday, after days of not eating, with no pain relief from the medicine in her food, Harriet was taken to the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota where she was euthanized.

“We believe the kindest thing to do was to keep her from a painful end and let her die peacefully in expert care,” said National Eagle Center Executive Director Rolf Thompson. “The Raptor Center has provided care for Harriet (and indeed, all our avian ambassadors) from the start. When they told us there was nothing more we can do, we knew that the time had come to let her go.”

Bald eagles live 20 to 25 years in the wild, according to the center.

The center currently has six “ambassadors” — bald eagles and one golden eagle.

John R. Russett

John Russett is a regional reporter for RiverTown Multimedia, covering a variety of issues facing RiverTown communities. Previously, he worked at the Red Wing Republican Eagle, where he reported on education as well as crime and courts. 

You can follow him on Twitter at @JohnRyanRussett


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