Tracking Bald Eagle NX: 2011–2016

A head shot of NX being restrained for an examination.Bald Eagle NX was one of the most famous eagles the Center has treated and released. NX was one of the three eaglets — dubbed “The Rock Stars” — that hatched at the Norfolk Botanical Garden in 2011. After her mother was struck and killed by an airplane, NX and her siblings were admitted to the Wildlife Center in April 2011. After growing up at the Wildlife Center, NX was released on August 30, 2011, at Berkeley Plantation on the James River below Richmond.

A little more than three months later, NX was struck by a vehicle and was re-admitted to the Wildlife Center with a fractured coracoid bone. After more than five months of treatment and rehabilitation, NX was released in May 2012 at Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge in Richmond County, Virginia. Before her release, her original transmitter was once again fitted so that Center staff and biologists could follow her movements.

Center staff were able to continue to track NX for another four and a half years—in total, Bald Eagle NX was tracked from August 2011 to September 2016.

2011

NX remained in the general area of Berkeley Plantation in the weeks following her release, before flying to Northumberland County, near the Chesapeake Bay. NX generally stayed in in the Northumberland area, establishing a few "favorite" areas that showed up often on her tracking, including the Little Wicomico River. In early December, she was found injured in Ophelia, Virginia. 

A Google Earth Map depicting lines where the eagle traveled in 2011.

2012

After her rehabilitation and release in mid-May, NX stuck around the Rappahannock River for the summer. In September, she flew northeast to Westmoreland County, on the banks of the Potomac River. For the remainder of the year, NX spent much of her time exploring Rosier Creek and Upper Machodoc Creek in King George County. 

A Google Earth Map depicting purple lines where the eagle traveled.

2013

NX remained in Virginia this year, mostly traveling around the Northern Neck of Virginia, with a few trips to Quantico, a military base in Prince William County.  She frequented Machodoc Creek in King George County and spent a good deal of time on Rosier Creek, which seemed to indicate this was a particularly favorable spot. 

A Google Earth Map depicting purple lines where the eagle traveled in 2013.

2014

After assessing another year of data, staff concluded that Bald Eagle NX was a bit of a "homebody"; while some young Bald Eagles travel farther afield, NX mostly stayed in Virginia, with a few trips across the Potomac River to Maryland. Once again, NX frequented the Rappahannock River, nearly her 2012 release site, as well as Rosier Creek in King George County. 

2015

The staff started to note larger gaps in between NX's check-ins this year; data transmissions were becoming more sporadic, indicating that the batteries on the GPS transmitter were likely starting to fail. But, NX continued to check in al of 2015, mostly from her "usual" spots -- King George County, the Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge, Quantic, and, of course, Rosier Creek. She also spent late May at Mallows Bay in Maryland -- she visited this same "ship graveyard" location at the same time in 2014. 

A Google Earth Map depicting purple lines where the eagle traveled.

2016

Though data was even more sporadic this year, NX still intermittently checked in throughout most of 2016. For the third year in a row, she spent late May at Mallows Bay in Maryland, giving staff (and biologists) a good insight into a seasonal pattern of her movement. Overall, NX spent most of her time in Virginia. The last data point the staff received on NX was from September 2016, when NX checked in from Rosier Creek. 

A Google Earth Map depicting purple lines where the eagle traveled.