Golden Eagle Finds Love After Loss In Kentucky

Athena’s longtime mate died in April 2021.

Bernheim Golden Eagles

Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest 

Love is in the air at Bernheim Arboretum and Research Forest in Clermont, Kentucky, where it appears that golden eagle Athena has found a new partner after years of singledom. 

It’s a Valentine’s Day miracle for the female bird who tragically lost her longtime mate, Harper, in April 2021. Athena’s second shot at love is also a boon to experts, who are anxious to learn more about how golden eagles choose their mates. 

“Not much is known about how golden eagles find or choose a mate, and even less is known about how they replace a lost mate,” Amy Landon, director of communications for Bernheim, said in a press release. “Working with our golden eagle research partners in the remote interior of Bernheim, we continue to unravel some of the mysteries kept by these long-distance migrants that reside in large forests of Kentucky during the winter months.”

Tracking data shows that Athena traveled more widely following Harper’s death, which experts believe might have been because she was searching for a new mate.

"It seems her excursionist behavior paid off, and by late last winter she was spotted with another eagle at Bernheim,” the release explains. “They seemed to tolerate each other’s presence.” 

The rumored romance was seemingly confirmed this year, when audio captured in January demonstrates calling between Athena and another male golden eagle. Furthermore, evidence suggests that Athena may have fledged a chick with this mystery suitor while the pair summered in Canada.

Bernheim hopes to have more answers as the spring migration approaches, so stay tuned!

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