Posted by: rlukei | August 15, 2009

Azalea vs. Hope (the Whimbrel)

And the winner is?????

Azalea (banded HH) was fitted with a satellite transmitter on May 20, 2009 and we have all been anxious to see just where this young bald eagle wanders off to. So far, that has been no farther from home than all of 8 miles out over Bay Colony and Broad Bay in Virginia Beach.

Hope (the Whimbrel) was fitted with a satellite transmitter by CCB biologists the day before Azalea, May 19, 2009 on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, and as of yesterday August 15th has traveled more than 8,000 miles!!! She left the Eastern Shore on May 26 and flew to James Bay in Nunavut Canada, then west to the MacKenzie River in the Yukon Territory, out over the Beaufort Sea, back to Hudson Bay where she left on August 10 passing over eastern Canada and New England, off the coast of Maine, over the Atlantic Ocean east of Bermuda and as of yesterday, August 15, was still flying south toward the Virgin Islands 250 miles away. Hope has flown non-stop over 3,200 miles averaging 37 miles per hour. You can read about Hope and see a map of her travels at

The score card reads

Azalea – 8 miles

Hope – 8,000 miles

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darn reese you said she as a slow learner but gee!
Come on AZ – Dad quit babying her. LOL

I’m finding it hard to wrap my mind around the speed this bird has sustained over such a long distance! Even more incredible is the internal drive that makes her do this.

Azalea enjoys a drive of a different sort.

AZ enjoys her Dad’s attention. If my parent waited on me the way he does her – I wouldn’t leave home either LOL.

What ever she decides to do – I hope AZ, HK, and HE have long wonderful lives and are always safe.

I must say – I looked at Hope’s map – wow. She has been traveling. It’s great to know she has been so far and is safe. I wish the same life for her – safe, long and wonderful.

I wonder if Hope had a beautiful garden to live in, great parents, plenty of fish to eat, squirrels and a raccoon for neighbors, her own following of hundreds, even thousands, of fans, a camera that has filmed her since before she even hatched, a feature page in a calendar, rides in a bucket truck, her own paparazzi crew, DGIF agents, pictures in a newly released book, video on YouTube, a record number of adoptive families and a friend like Reese, would she want to fly so far from home?

MVK makes many good points. Therefore – the winner is – AZALEA – Yeah – YEahhhh!!!

I’m totally amazed at the distance and places Hope has travelled, what an awesome bird. Looking forward to seeing the rest of her flight plan. Reese, how long do the whimbrels carry their transmitters?

DJ – Good question. I will find out for all of us how long the transmitter is expected to remain on the Whimbrel.

MVK, I have read your comments over forum pages, etc., and you express yourself so beautifully! Thank you for your perspective above. I feel about our Azalea as I did about my son when he was growing up and the students I’ve taught…you want them to become independent but at the same time hate to see them go. “To each thing there is a season”, and I continue to enjoy Azalea’s “season” with us while we are still able to watch her at NBG!