Injured golden eagle now soaring high

Posted at: 07/25/2013 6:01 PM
By: Joseph Lynch, KOB Eyewitness News 4

Thor, the golden eagle
Thor, the golden eagle

One of the reasons many of us love living in New Mexico is the wildlife living all around us.

Human-wildlife interaction earlier this year almost killed a beautiful golden eagle. That eagle, named Thor, hasn't just made it back, he's soaring.

When Thor was released, no one could have imagined just how far it would go. Especially not Dennis Miller, who with his wife Denise runs the Gila Wildlife Rescue.  

"This eagle had gotten hit by a car on the highway 180 east of us. Was hit so hard it shattered the woman's windshield. Pushed it in 6 inches," Dennis said.

Thor first came to Gila Wildlife Rescue in Silver City in March. A lifelong biology teacher, Miller and his wife rehabilitated Thor.

"He wasn't eating at first. And little by little he started eating. He sat on the perch for a few days and just sat there and we were not real sure if he was going to survive."

But he did survive.

With the help of a New Mexico State graduate student and an eagle expert, they attached a transmitter to Thor. The goal is to study Thor's movements and learn more about migration habits of eagles.

Just in the 1st day of release, Thor flew from Silver City to the Four Corners area. Since his release he's traveled more than 3,600 miles and is now on the northern slopes of Alaska. The Millers are hoping to see Thor soaring through Silver City again.

"That's my curiosity, to see if he's going to come back down this way, which would be so cool," Denise said. "It would be really great. If the human researchers can tell us, 'Yes he's on this spot on the Deming Highway and you could go look at him', that would be really awesome to see him back here."

Thor's release wasn't just important to researchers or the rescue people. A Silver City family has used Thor's release to help them to deal with a family tragedy. You can see that story here.