flying freely in the wild close to the Eagle Avairy.
Time flies it seems. On April 16, 2015, 730 days will have passed
to mark two years since Wadasés release. She has surpassed
all expectations as we continue to learn valuable information from
Many experts in the field marvel at the incredible amount of
data gathered and her continued progress. With flights reching heights
above 9,000 ft. (1.7 miles) and speeds over 55 mph, it is safe to
say Wadasé has mastered the sky. She is able carry our prayers
to the Creator, Mamo-Gosnan, and for that we are grateful.
Below is a recap of some of the highlights from the past two
In June of 2012 the Citizen Potawatomi Nation Eagle Aviary received
a juvenile bald eagle originally from the Florida Audubon Society.
Many people know this eagle as Wadasé and have watched her
progress for the past two years as she continues to explore Pottawatomie
Long before she was Wadasé Zhabwé, CPN staff knew
her as Penojés. Discovered near her nest in Orange County,
Fla., she arrived at the CPN Eagle Aviary when she was approximately
five months old where she was given the Potawatomi name, Penojés.
She had suffered an injury to her left wing, including a fractured
wing tip, extensive tissue damage and loss of her primary flight
The CPN Aviary staff planned to glove-train the young eagle
and use her as an educational bird for students and Tribal members.
outside the enclosure.
"When we received her we didn't believe that she would
ever fly again, said Jennifer Randell, CPN Eagle Aviary manager.
At that time, we felt she would make a great educational bird.
We didn't have a separate mews for her then and decided to put her
in the enclosure with the other eagles.
However, she began to fly when those missing flight feathers
grew back and it was clear her non-releasable status needed to be
reevaluated. By fall 2012, it was determined that Penojés
had regained flight ability well enough to consider release back
to the wild.
Penojés was cared for and rehabilitated by several experts
in the aviary field. During the course of several months she learned
to hunt and regained her strength and conditioning for flight. On
April 16, 2013 she received a new Potawatomi name, Wadasé
Zhabwé, meaning Brave Breakthrough.
Wadasé was banded and released with a tracking device
so that aviary staff could monitor her progress.
Citizen Potawatomi Nation, the United States Fish and Wildlife
Service, the Raptor View Research Institute of Missoula and Comanche
Nation Sia all joined together to rehabilitate Wadase and were prepared
to release and track the juvenile bald eagle. The CPN Aviary became
the first ever Native American Aviary to release an eagle back into
the wild banded and fitted with a GPS telemetry backpack. That
backpack gave us the confidence to release her knowing we could
monitor her progress and intervene if she should have problems adjusting
in the wild, said Randell. We never imagined the incredible
amount of data we would be able to gather.
Over the past two years the backpack has logged over fourteen
thousand GPS points containing data such as location, speed, direction
height, and temperature. While she has remained in Oklahoma since
her release, she continues to explore new parts of the state, visiting
nearly a third of its 77 counties. The closest she came to leaving
the state was to the north just 7.5 miles from the Kansas border
near the Great Salt Plains Lake. Her furthest trip south followed
her discovery of the Washita River near Lindsay, which she followed
to her westernmost point past Ft. Cobb stopping just short of Carnegie.
To the east she has only gone as far as Okmulgee. Although she has
never been more than 130 miles from the aviary since her release,
she has logged thousands of miles flying as she ventures afield.
During the month of March 2015, Oklahoma experienced some of
the worst winter weather of this season and for the first time since
her release, Wadasé didnt return to the aviary. During
inclement weather she would normally arrive at the aviary just before
the storm and would remain until the weather improved. She was better
at forecasting the weather it seemed than our local weather station.
But the recent storms came with heavy winds, snow and ice while
she remained on the Washita River in the southwest portion of the
state. She has been along the Washita almost two months now, except
for one brief afternoon visit last month before returning to the
same area just east of Chickasha. The first year of her release
we saw her 146 days at the aviary. This past year that number was
cut in less than half. She has become completely independent and
proved that she is not just sustaining herself but she is thriving
in the wild.
perched in her favorite pecan tree next to the aviary.
Rob Domenech from the Raptor View Research Institute equipped
Wadasé the GPS backpack commented on her progress.
I would have to say she is doing great. If you get a year
of data you can't complain. Anything after that is a bonus. Wadasé
has proven herself to be a survivor and I am optimistic she will
continue to do well, giving important glimpses into the details
of her life.
We couldnt be more pleased with that bonus data,
added Bree Dunham, CPN Eagle Aviary Asst. Manager. It is humbling
that Wadasé has allowed us to share so much space and time
with her since her release but it seems from this point forward
we will have to rely on the GPS with her visits being less frequent.
The aviary staff will continue to monitor her progress and look
forward to the coming year. We hope to see if she follows
the same trends and visits the same areas in the coming year,
said Randell. We hope to have the opportunity to follow her
until she begins nesting in the next few years. Perhaps then we
could follow her fledglings and continue to tell her story for generations
The CPN Aviary staff would like to once again extend a sincere
thank you to all of those involved in making this release not just
a possibility but a success. From the good Samaritan who brought
her to the Florida Audubon Society for treatment, to the dedicated
staff who cared for her there, Sia: The Comanche Nation Aviary who
assisted with her release, Rob Domenech from the Raptor View Research
Institute who came all the way from Montana to fit her with telemetry
and band her, to the CPN for the support of this program, the United
States Fish and Wildlife Service for their efforts and to all the
individuals who follow her story and keep her in your thoughts and
to those close enough to keep an eye out for her here in Oklahoma.
Without all these people coming together this release would
not have been possible. Please continue to keep an eye on the skies
as Wadasé Zhabwé ventures into new areas of the state.
The many reports of sightings throughout state have played an
intricate part in monitoring her success. To follow her movements
with us you can visit www.arcgis.com/home
and search for Potawatomi eagle. Send your encounters
with Wadasé or any other eagles in the state or wherever
you may be to email@example.com.
For more information or to read previous updates please visit
and search the site for Wadase or visit http://www.potawatomi.org/about-wadase