BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — A 28-year-old bald eagle, one of the original eagles brought to Indiana in the 1980s as part of a restoration program, has been spotted again at Lake Monroe.
Bald eagle C43 is the oldest known wild bald eagle in Indiana. DNR records show C43 arrived in the state in 1988 as a nestling from Whitestone Harbor, Alaska. Biologists brought her and 72 other eaglets to Indiana to start the bald eagle restoration program.
C43 may still be nesting at Lake Monroe, according to Amy Kearns, assistant nongame bird biologist with the DNR Division of Fish & Wildlife.
C43 is the number on a leg band that helps scientists and wildlife watchers identify the bird.
“This bird may be one of the top 10 oldest wild bald eagles in the United States, with only seven other banded eagles reported living to 28 years or more,” Kearns said.
The latest sighting was on Nov. 4 at Lake Monroe by Clare Bozell. This is the second year in a row that Bozell has spotted C43 in the same area at the same time.
Since her release, C43 has been spotted in Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee, according to the Indiana DNR.
Bald eagles were on the state and federal endangered species list when Indiana began its reintroduction program in 1985. In 1991, the first successful nesting occurred. In 2016, there were an estimated 250-300 eagle nesting territories in Indiana, with 179 bald eagle nests confirmed active.
The bald eagle reintroduction program was the first endangered species restoration project initiated by DNR nongame wildlife staff.
Hoosiers can help by donating a portion of their tax returns to the fund or by donating online. For every $5 donated to the Nongame Fund, another $9 is awarded through federal grants.