Search underway for Palo Alto museum's missing bald eagle

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The search is underway for a 27-year-old bald eagle missing from the Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo. (Photo courtesy @PaloAlto_Eagle/Twitter) (PaloAlto_Eagle/Twitter)

The search is underway for a bald eagle missing from the Palo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo. Handlers are concerned because they lost the signal from her tracker on Wednesday.

Handlers have received more than 20 sighting reports and they're trying to follow up with every one of them because it's concerning she's been gone this long. She's been in captivity most of her life and cannot hunt on her own.

A bleep on the tracker, but no confirmed sightings of Sequoia the bald eagle.

"Monday when we were flying her she took off and chased a red tail hawk and then just kind of began to wander," said John Aikin with the Paloo Alto Junior Museum and Zoo.

She's spread her wings too far this time.

"We've lost her radio signal," said Aikin. "She emits a radio signal that we can pick up up to 30 miles away and we're not getting any kind of a signal now."

They're searching in the Pearson-Arastradero Preserve in Palo Alto, where handlers hope she'll respond to their whistles.

The transmitter that should be mounted on her tail feathers may have stopped working.

"This is last year's tail feather," said Aikin. "This is what we mount onto her tail feather permanently so that we can attach a radio transmitter. It's a guitar pick, aquarium tubing, and super glue."

Calls of possible sightings are coming in from all over the Bay Area.

"We're getting bald eagle sightings from Sausalito to south San Jose," said Aikin.

The 27-year-old bird has distinct characteristics, from an injury in her youth.

"She has a white head and tail and she has leather straps hanging off of her ankles," said her handler, John Flynn. "Her tail feathers will be very close together and pointing straight back."

If she's not found Thursday night, searchers may use a plane on Friday to get their tracker over the hills.
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