Atka the eagle found safe and sound in Ashford

Published on Tuesday, 11 February 2020 21:05

Chronicle Staff Writer

ASHFORD - Atka, a 10-year-old bald eagle living at Horizon Wings Raptor Rehabilitation and Education in Ashford was found safe on the nonprofit’s property.

The good news was revealed by the nonprofit in a Facebook post at 10:41 a.m. Tuesday.

News of the disappearance was posted all over Facebook, with many people concerned about Atka.

“We wish to thank everyone for your help with the search, your Facebook posts and concern,” the Horizon Wings post said. “You all made a difference.”

Horizon Wings founder Mary Beth Kaeser said she noticed Atka was missing at about 8:30 a.m. Monday morning.

Kaeser founded the nonprofit, which specializes in the rehabilitation of birds of prey, in 2001. The facility is at 9 Sand Hill Road in Ashford.

State Department of Energy and Environmental Protection officials, state police and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services personnel were notified about the disappearance.

“This is still an active, ongoing investigation,” the Horizon Wings post said.

Initially, state police, who were notified about the disappearance at 9:30 a.m. Monday, said Atka was believed to have been taken or stolen.

Atka cannot fly because he has an injured right wing.

According to state police, Atka was in a “secured aviary.”

The bald eagle, which has been our country’s national emblem since 1782, is a “state-threatened species,” according to the DEEP website.

According to the Horizon Wing website, bald eagles are the largest raptors nesting in Connecticut, with males weighing up to 10 pounds and females weighing up to 12 pounds. Bald eagles have wingspans between 6 and 7 feet.

According to the Horizon Wing website, bald eagle populations in Connecticut were wiped out in the 1950s due largely due to the pesticide DDT.

That website states nesting bald eagles returned to Connecticut in 1992 and the populations of the bird have been increasing ever since.

While some of the birds at the center are rehabilitated and released, others, like Atka, are permanent residents due to their physical condition.

Atka was a year old when he arrived at Horizon Wings in 2011 from Washington state.

He is believed to have been hit by a logging truck in Washington and was found with an injured right wing.

Posted in The Bristol Press, on Tuesday, 11 February 2020 21:05. Updated: Tuesday, 11 February 2020 21:08.