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LOWER KLAMATH NWR: Comic Stephen Colbert's Bald Eagle Lands at Refuge
California-Nevada Offices , December 29, 2008
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Jack Noller was photographing bald eagles on the Lower Klamath Refuge on Christmas Eve when he came upon an immature eagle with a tag and radio. The ID tag identifies the immature eagle as
Jack Noller was photographing bald eagles on the Lower Klamath Refuge on Christmas Eve when he came upon an immature eagle with a tag and radio. The ID tag identifies the immature eagle as "#46" also known as Stephen Jr., named after comedian Stephen Colbert of the Colbert Report. (photo: Jack Noller) - Photo Credit: n/a
Photographer Jack Noller sent his photo of Eagle #46 to a friend who did some research and found that the eagle was Stephen Jr. (photo: Jack Noller)
Photographer Jack Noller sent his photo of Eagle #46 to a friend who did some research and found that the eagle was Stephen Jr. (photo: Jack Noller) - Photo Credit: n/a
Stephen Jr. in flight. (photo: Jack Noller)
Stephen Jr. in flight. (photo: Jack Noller) - Photo Credit: n/a

Famous Bald Eagle named for comedian Stephen Colbert Lands in the Basin

 

By Lee Juillerat, Klamath Falls Herald and News, heraldandnews.com

Jack Noller never considered himself a celebrity-seeking paparazzo.  He is now.

 

Noller was photographing bald eagles at the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge the day before Christmas when he spotted an immature eagle with a tag and a radio. After taking several images, he e-mailed them to Charlotte Ann Kisling of Dorris, a well-known birder.

 

Kisling did some investigating and learned A-46 is actually Stephen Jr., who she calls the world’s most famous bald eagle. “I’ve been waiting 2 1/2 years to see this eagle,” said Kisling, who did just that Christmas Day. “I just knew eventually it would show up here.”

 

From California

 

Stephen Jr. is named after Stephen Colbert of Comedy Central television’s “The Colbert Report.” He was hatched April 17, 2006, from an egg found on Santa Cruz Island, one of Southern California’s Channel Islands, at the San Francisco Zoo as part of the its California Bald Eagle breeding program. It was released on the island June 8, 2006, after being equipped with a blue tag and GPS unit. Since then, Colbert has regularly reported on Stephen Jr. during his mock newscasts.

 

“I watch the Stephen Colbert show regularly,” Kisling said.

 

GPS tracking

 

The GPS unit tracked Stephen Jr. on his seasonal travels from California through Oregon and Washington to British Columbia and back south. Based on that tracking information, which is available on the Internet, it appears Stephen Jr. might have previously visited the Klamath Basin.

 

The sightings and photographs have stirred interest in the bird-watching world. Noller has been contacted about using his photos at various Web sites. Kisling wonders if Colbert might do an update on his television show.

 

“I am sure that Stephen Sr. will be happy that his ‘baby’ is back in California, but just barely. It was seen flying off with prey remains when I last saw it,” she said of seeing A-46 on Christmas Day.

 

Looking good

 

The eagle has been seen at the exit of the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge along Stateline Road.

 

“He is looking very good,” said Dr. Peter Sharpe of the Institute for Wildlife Studies in Avalon, Calif., which has been tracking the eagle’s movements, in an e-mail to Kisling after seeing some of Noller’s photographs.

 

“It was my Christmas present to see it,” Kisling said of seeing Stephen Jr. on Christmas Day. “Now that I know who it is, I’m excited.”

 

SIDE BAR - Eagle a source of comedy for show


“The Colbert Report” is a Peabody and Emmy award winning satirical television program on Comedy Central. It is a spinoff and counterpart to “The Daily Show,” and satirizes personality-driven political pundit programs such as Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor.”

Stephen Colbert’s fictional Stephen Colbert character hasn’t always been proud of Stephen Jr., the bald eagle also known as A-46. On televised newscasts and on his Web site, Colbert said he has been disappointed by Stephen Jr.’s excursions to Canada.

On a positive note, when Stephen Jr. first crossed into Canadian airspace in August 2006, Colbert noted Junior was “feasting on fresh Canadian salmon, looking for Vietnam draft dodgers and stopping terrorist pigeons from attempting to cross our northern border.”

On his Web site, Colbert offers factoids about Stephen Jr., including, “He could take your arm off,” “Hates pelicans, just like his Dad,” “Likes to drop deer heads to cause power outages,” “Has his own ice cream flavor: Stephen Jr.’s Ameri-Flown Dream,” and, “Has pooped on Goliath midflight.”

(This story was originally published in the Dec. 27, 2008 edition of the Klamath Falls, Ore., Herald and News and is reprinted here by permission.)


Contact Info: Matt Baun, 530-842-5763, matt_baun@fws.gov



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