TERF07/Arctic Gal (tracked since 12/12/20)
HWF tracked bald eagle TERF07 was tagged and banded on December 12, 2020, at the Vancouver Landfill in Delta, BC. She appears to be female based on measurements taken at the time of banding; her USFW band number is 0709-00285 and she has a more readable blue band on her left leg with the characters H over 4. TERF07’s age at banding appeared to be about 3-1/2 years old, so she likely hatched in the spring of 2017. Myles and David noted multiple stress bars in her feathers, which can indicate lack of food, stress or illness when the feather was being formed.
Please visit our Hancock Wildlife Forum thread for more information about what TERF07 has been doing since then.
June 1, 2022 – TERF07 is now five years old and back in the far north for the second summer since she was tagged. She is now a full adult, though she probably has some dark spots on her head and tail as they transition to full white. I don’t actually know if eagles nest this far north or if she’ll be moving further south when she’s ready to settle down – something we’re hoping to learn as we continue to follow her travels. And she now has a name. Those of us who have been posting updates on the HWF forum (link) have been calling her “Arctic Gal” informally since she first flew so much further north than the other eagles we are tracking, and now it’s official – she’s Arctic Gal! (added by JudyB)
March 14, 2023 – TERF07/Arctic Gal hasn’t checked in since September 21, 2022; she was in her territory in the far north and everything looked good, so I’m hoping that either her tracker failed or she’s found an even more remote area to explore.
Three of the photos below are from when she got her tracker in December 2020; the beautiful image of Arctic Gal flying through the snow is copyright Art Juillet, used with permission, all rights reserved; it was taken in February 2021, shortly before Arctic Gal headed north.
May 5, 2023 – Arctic Gal checked in!! We hadn’t heard from her for over 7 months, and since she uploaded a LOT of data points, we now know that she spent almost all that time in Alaska, so perhaps her tracker isn’t keyed to Alaskan cell towers. So happy to see that she’s doing well, and appears to be heading back towards her northern territory. We think she’s now six years old, so she may be looking for a partner and a place to nest.
Summary of Travels
(last updated March 13, 2023)
- Received tracker December 12 2020 at the Vancouver Landfill in Delta, BC
- We began receiving signals from the tracker on January 20, 2021 – and she stayed there for another month, through February 24th.
- She made her way up the coast in a leisurely fashion, reaching Bella Bella on March 4th, and crossing over to the Alaskan Panhandle on March 7th.
- She visited the nearby islands of Revilliagigedo and Prince of Wales and that general area from the 7th to the 15th, then spent a day or two on Annette Island. After that, she moved on to Duke Island and stayed there exploring a little inlet through March 24th.
- Perhaps she decided it was a bit chilly in Alaska – on March 25 she was back in BC and heading down the coast, getting as far south as Gil Island on March 29 (about 208 km/129 mi from the border – not far for an eagle)
- She was heading back up the coast on the 30th, reaching Smith Island on April 2nd and spent a few days there before heading north on the 7th; her next stop was Kalen Island from April 8 to 11, and when she checked in on the 12th, she had crossed back into Alaska.
- She made a couple of stops in the places she’d been earlier, but continued up the coast, reaching Wrangell Island on April 16 and spending a couple of days there before continuing her journey north.
- She reached Juneau on April 21st, and when she checked in a day later, she’d headed almost due North, crossed a tiny bit of BC, and arrived near Mt. Lorne in the Yukon (242 km/150 mi in a day!)
- She went about 25 kilometers further north to the outskirts of Whitehorse the next day, and stayed there from the 23rd to the 25th of April. The next day was another long flight north, roughly 200 km/125 mi, with a shorter flight on the 27th. She then headed East, and crossed back into Alaska, checking in from Tok on April 28th (345 km/215 mi – she is a powerful eagle!).
- The next day, April 29, she was near Fairbanks (280 km/175 mi); she stayed in that general area for two days, then headed in a bit of a loop southwest toward the Denali National Park on May 2nd. The next day she was heading north again, making a leisurely trip from Healy to Anderson from the 3rd to the 5th. She continued heading northeast, passing by Chalkyitsik, and crossing into the northern Yukon on May 10, near the town of Old Crow. The next day she was at the northwest corner of the Northwest Territories.
- There aren’t a lot of landmarks here, as you’ll see if you look at her map (link) and the area where she has spent most of her time is along the coast sort of between the border with the Yukon and Tuktoyaktuk, a distance of about 150 km/100 mi. (Note – I round off the numbers a bit, so they aren’t always absolutely proportional.)
- From May 11-25, Arctic Gal was mostly in the western part of the territory she explored, more or less above Aklavik
- After that she moved eastward for a few days, ending up near Tuktoyaktuk by May 31st.
- She seemed to be mostly in the eastern half of the territory from June through September, and I really encourage people to go to her map and click the little calendar icon at the top and then pick a month and click from day to day and watch the red dot for her location move around.
- TERF07/Arctic Gal began moving south around October 3rd, spending a few days north of Aklavik from the 6th to the 10th, then headed slowly south, crossing into the Yukon on October 17th.
- She continued heading slowly south, and reached the Yukon River on October 22nd, spending a couple of days where she first encountered it, then following it for a few more days, moving mostly east toward Fort Selkirk and a bit beyond through the 29th.
- She continued moving south, crossing from the Yukon into northwestern BC on November 1st and continuing on to the Alaskan Panhandle near the Alsek River on the 2nd.
- Once she was near the coast, she turned towards the northwest, heading up the coast towards Yakutat
- She stayed somewhere a bit east of Harlequin Lake and what might be Dangerous River (interesting name!) from October 5th to 18th with one little day trip, then began heading southeast down the coast; I’m sure there was something of interest there, but hard to tell what from the map.
- She was back near the Alsek River by the 22nd, and was on the top part of Admiralty Island, not that far from Juneau, by November 28th.
- TERF07 was on Kupreanof Island on December 11 and spent some time near an inlet on the west side of the island through the 17th, then continued to the south end of the island on the 19th, then past the north east corner of Prince of Wales Island, and on to Etolin Island on the 25th. This section of her journey seemed quite leisurely, with lots of short flights and brief stays in different places along the way.
- By December 29th, she was on what I think is a peninsula to the west of Revilliagigedo Island, and she stayed in that area through January 6, 2022, before heading south to a point of land to the east of Annette Island on January 7 – which I think is as far south as she came that winter. It sort of boggles my mind when an eagle (or anyone) goes south to Alaska for the winter!
- She stayed in that general area through January 9, then crossed over to what I think is the southeast edge of Revilliagigedo Island where she stayed through the 19th before moving back to the area on the point where she’d been before; she stayed there through January 26.
- By January 27, she was heading northwest up the coast again; she reached Etolin Island on February 2nd and spent a few days there, then moved on to Wrangell Island on the 9th and stayed there until the 18th, when she moved back to Etolin Island and headed down the coast of that through March 8th.
- She was on Revilliagigedo Island on the 9th, back to the southern point near Annette Island on the 10th, then headed north again, this time crossing over to Prince of Wales Island on the 15th and exploring there until March 27th.
- She was on Wrangell Island on the 28th, then did a bit of a loop south, ending up on Prince of Wales Island on April 1st, exploring a bit and moving northwest to Edna Bay on the 5th. She seemed to be hearing the call of the north at that point, taking fairly small flights but making her way back above Cube Cove near Juneau by the 11th – and then doing a longer flight back to Kulu Island on the 12th and spending a few days there before flying back to the top of Admiralty Island across from Juneau on April 17. By the 18th she had crossed into BC north of Skagway, and when she checked in on the 19th, she was in the Yukon near Whitehorse.
- Arctic Gal/TERF07 stayed in the Whitehorse area from April 19 – 22, then flew north to Carmacks on the 23rd, then headed west toward the border with Alaska on the 24th and 25th, turned north again then made a little jog into Alaska on the 26th, crossing back to the Yukon on the 27th and continuing northeast. She crossed into the Northwest Territories either late on the 29th or early on the 30th.
- She was north of Aklavik on May 1st, down to Inuvik on the 6th and 7th, and over near Tuktoyaktuk by the 8th. It looks as if she was checking out various streams for most of the month of May, in a different place almost every day, though most were fairly short flights.
- June was similar, though there were some places where she stayed several days, perhaps because some sort of fish were running or there was an abundance of little animals.
- The first half of July she was mostly in the west end of her territory, above Aklavik, then she headed back to the eastern area, focusing on a couple of places that don’t seem to have names. On the 28th she was at what appears to be the farthest east point of her recorded northern travels, a bit southeast of Tuktoyaktuk; she stayed there through August 7th.
- For the rest of August and much of September, she was in an area southwest of Tuktoyaktuk maybe 30 km/18 mi in diameter, again spending a few days here and a few days there.
- Her last update was recorded at 5 pm pacific time on September 21, 2022; she was heading northeast towards areas she’d visited before, and everything was looking good, so I’m hoping she’s still going strong, and either her tracker failed or she’s been exploring even more remote areas with no cell coverage at all.
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