Remembering Harriet:
Bald Eagle Ambassador

Harriet was the original National Eagle Center Ambassador and probably the most well-known of all the Eagle Ambassadors, past or present. Known for her very calm nature and demeanor, she was a tremendous educator and one-of-a-kind ambassador for her species.

Harriet was hatched in a nest in northern Wisconsin in 1981. We know this because she was given a leg band in the nest by DNR officer Ron Eckstrand. As fate would have it, 17 years later in 1998 when Harriet was unfortunately struck by a vehicle and suffered a severe wing injury, it was Eckstrand who rescued her! Following treatment at the University of Minnesota Raptor Center, which resulted in the partial amputation of her left wing, Harriet made her way to the newly opened Eagle Center on Main Street in Wabasha. Unable to fly and survive in the wild, she would spend the rest of her life educating the public and touching the lives of thousands upon thousands of people.

Among her many adventures as an Ambassador, Harriet traveled the country appearing on network talk shows like the Colbert Report and visiting the work crews at Ground Zero in New York City during reconstruction following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. She was especially well-known for her work with wounded US military personnel. Harriet was a regular visitor to the VA Hospital in St. Paul, MN and her work was honored when she was selected to appear on the Minnesota “Support Our Troops” license plate, on which she still appears today.

Remarkably, Harriet lived two distinct lives: 17 years as an eagle in the wild and 18 more as an educator in the care of humans. She passed away in 2016 at the ripe old age of 35 years (normal lifespan in the wild is 20-25 years) and her legacy continues to live on today, both immortalized on the “Support Our Troops” license plate and in the fond memories of the countless people who met and worked with her through the years.

  • Female
  • Hatched in 1981
  • Rescued in northern Wisconsin
  • National Eagle Center ambassador since 2000
  • Died in 2016

Harriet is recognized by her signature tuft of feathers on the top of her head. This was the result of the vehicle collision she suffered in 1998.

Want to support Harriet’s legacy and other Bald Eagles?

Become a National Eagle Center member!

Your membership directly supports the care of our Eagle Ambassadors and innovative educational programming. Learn more about how to become a member and the additional perks that are available.