Fuzzy the golden eagle
Photo Credit: Billy Thein

The Passing of Fuzzy

We are deeply saddened to share the news that our beloved Fuzzy the Golden Eagle passed away on Tuesday morning. Based on her history and circumstances, we suspect she died from age-related natural causes. Fuzzy was at least 31 years old at the time of her death.

Fuzzy arrived at the California Raptor Center on March 31st, 1995, as a transfer from another wildlife facility in the Bay Area. She had been found in the Altamont Pass (a wind farm) with an open left ulnar fracture. Despite multiple surgeries and a long rehabilitation process, she never regained full use of her left wing and consequently remained at the California Raptor Center for the rest of her days as an ambassador for her species.

Generations of volunteers and visitors remember Fuzzy from her long tenure at the CRC. With her imposing presence as the largest raptor at the Center—you are unlikely to ever meet a larger Golden Eagle—she was hard to miss in the Eagle Display at the front entrance, sitting calmly on her perch or, in recent years, vocalizing at staff and volunteers. She originally earned her name because of her mellow disposition. According to the story, a volunteer once remarked that Fuzzy seemed so comfortable that the only thing she needed to look more at home was a pair of fuzzy slippers.

2 golden eagles sitting on a perch together
Sullivan (left) and Fuzzy (right). Photo Credit: Eunah Preston

Fuzzy was the bird who taught many student staff, volunteers, and visiting professionals how to handle an eagle. Former CRC Operations Supervisor Bret Stedman used to comment that if someone could learn to hold Fuzzy, they could hold any Golden Eagle: Fuzzy was as big and strong as they come. There are many veterinarians, wildlife rehabilitators, biologists, wind farm employees, zookeepers, and other professionals out there today who are able to safely handle and help eagles thanks to the training opportunities Fuzzy provided. Her legacy is not only in the lives she touched here, but also in the other eagles whose rescues and safe care she helped enable.

Fuzzy the golden eagle

Her absence will leave a palpable void among our raptor ambassadors for a long time to come. She will be greatly missed by all of us at the CRC as well as by all of the people—the many visitors, CRC alums, and others—who got to know her over the years.