Originally featured in Points West magazine in Spring 2017
Jade, the bald eagle
A sub-adult, male bald eagle, Jade was named after Wyoming’s state gemstone, with a subtle nod to Joan Donner (JD), Center of the West Trustee and valued advisor to the Draper Natural History Museum and Draper Museum Raptor Experience. Jade came to the Raptor Experience from the Raptor Education Group, Inc. in Antigo, Wisconsin, which cared for him after the bird suffered a fractured wing, likely sustained in a collision with a vehicle. The wing never recovered well enough for Jade to regain sufficient flight to live in the wild. He now resides in a year-round enclosure, visible to visitors, in the Center’s Braun Garden.
Between three and four years old [in winter 2016–2017], Jade has not yet developed the fully white head and tail feathers, or the yellow beak, of adult bald eagles; that transition will happen between the ages of about five and seven.
Raptors in captivity are usually relatively sedentary animals, typically perching in their favorite spots throughout the day. Jade, however, often moves from perch to perch and has even been observed “dancing” in a rain shower. He truly seems to enjoy watching the other birds as well as the many cottontail rabbits that reside in the garden. Jade is often found at the front of his exhibit, where guests are thrilled to see his unique appearance.
Draper Natural History Museum’s bald eagle, Jade (Haliaeetus leucocephalus).