Oregon Zoo's missing golden eagle found safe - KPTV - FOX 12

Oregon Zoo's missing golden eagle found safe

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Deschutes, a golden eagle from the Oregon Zoo, flew away from handlers Tuesday during a training flight. (Oregon Zoo) Deschutes, a golden eagle from the Oregon Zoo, flew away from handlers Tuesday during a training flight. (Oregon Zoo)

A Golden Eagle from the Oregon Zoo has been found safe and sound, after spending more than 24 hours out on his own.

Deschutes, the zoo's only Golden Eagle, is the star of the popular "Wildlife Live" summer education program.

But Tuesday, during his first training session for the season on a new stage, he spread his wings a little too far.

"He just flew toward the stage and took a left turn and landed in a tree right near the zoo here," said Michael Illig, the Animal Curator at the Oregon Zoo. "We were trying to call him by getting his attention, but he got mobbed by a bunch of crows and they drove him across the highway."

Deschutes does have two small transmitters so his caretakers were able to narrow down his whereabouts to an area roughly the size of a city block. Then, the challenge was actually spotting the brown bird out in the wild.

"As the day went on, he kept on moving farther up the hill, and we don't know where he spent the night," Illig said.

Deschutes was finally recovered on the south side of Highway 26 Wednesday afternoon after his trainers found him up in a tree in a neighborhood off SW Patton Road in the Council Crest area. 

After they found him, they had to wait a few hours under the tree for Deschutes to see them and be ready to follow their commands to come down.

But in the end, that's exactly what he did, finally ready for his big night out to end.

Deschutes was rescued in 2004, after being hit by a car in Central Oregon. The accident left him blind in one eye, and the lack of depth perception left him unable to hunt in the wild.

"It's too bad that he got out, I hope he's safe, sounds like he hasn't eaten in a while," said Bjorn Bakken, who was hiking near the Marquam Trail where trainers had been searching.

"It'd be very interesting to see [a Golden Eagle], it'd be nice to find the searchers," said Eric Newberg, who was walking in Council Crest Park. "I certainly hope they find it so it can go back and be taken care of."

The zoo's curator told Fox 12 this isn't the first time Deschutes has gotten away; he flew off a couple of years ago, too.

"We had no doubt, we weren't really worried about him because he's done this before, we've done this before," Illig added. "He's a well-trained bird."

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