Morely the Golden Eagle dies at Grandfather

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Article Published: Jan. 4, 2013 | Modified: Jan. 4, 2013
Morely the Golden Eagle dies at Grandfather

Morely, Grandfather Mountain's resident golden eagle, died of natural causes Jan. 1. He was 35.

Photo by Helen Moss Davis

Morely the Golden Eagle died of natural causes sometime during the night on Jan. 1. He was discovered in his enclosure Jan. 2.

The oldest animal in the Grandfather Mountain Animal Habitats at around 35 years old, Morely came to the mountain in 1984. He was a native of the western United States before being injured by a gunshot. The wound left him unable to fully extend one of his wings, rendering him incapable of hunting and surviving in the wild.

According to habitat staff, he was known for amusing trainers with his modesty. He loved taking baths, and when habitats staff members walked by during one of his daily cleanings, he would freeze and glare as if he was caught naked. Baths were so important to Morely that he would climb into his water bowl when his pond was frozen in the winter months. Morely lived with several fellow eagles during his time at Grandfather Mountain, but was the last of his kind in the habitats when he passed away.

The Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation is currently in the fundraising stage of an effort to renovate the eagle enclosure at Grandfather Mountain. The upcoming renovations will completely enclose the habitat, allowing the Mountain to acquire eagles that are partially flighted and protecting the inhabitants from wild animals.

The Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation is a nonprofit corporation established to preserve Grandfather Mountain, operate the nature park sustainably in the public interest, provide an exceptional experience for guests, and inspire them to be good stewards of the earth's resources.

For more information or to donate to the Eagle Habitat Renovation Fund, visit or call (800) 468-7325.

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