After nearly three decades of traveling coast-to-coast, Challenger the Eagle is now retiring from free-flighted appearances and will spend his twilight years here in East Tennessee.
Challenger has made appearances at the White House, the World Series, National Championships, the NCAA Men’s Final Four and many other events during his 25-year career.
The American Eagle Foundation, which is based out of Dollywood, saying the near 30-year-old bald eagle will continue to travel, but in order to keep him healthy in his older age, he is now limited to gloved appearances.
The famous bird and his handler stopped by the Greystone studios Wednesday afternoon.
“We call Challenger a ‘human imprint,’“ Challenger’s handler told WATE 6 On Your Side. “He thinks he’s a person, not a bird. He was blown from his nest as a baby (eaglet). He was raised by people and so he never learned how to hunt.“
Challenger has been living at the American Eagle Foundation since he was a year old. We’re told Challenger will enjoy some well-deserved rest and continued daily flight exercise back home here in East Tennessee with his “family.“