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a biologists hands holding Athena the curlew

Deceased: Shot illegally in May 2017

Alpha Flag Code: HH
Capture date: 5-7-16
Sex: Female
Location: Idaho Army National Guard Orchard Combat Training Center, south of the Boise Airport

Namesake: Athena and her mate Zeus are named after Greek gods! Their names were entered into our Curlews in the Classroom naming contest by Middleton Middle School’s 7th grade science class, and won 40% of the final vote in our IBO Curlew Crew Facebook naming contest.

After tracking her in 2016, Athena’s “dot” stopped moving on the satellite tracking map in 2017- so we knew she might be in trouble, but her transmitter shut off and we weren’t able to locate her.

The skeleton of Athena the curlew
Athena’s skeleton was found in the desert

Suddenly, later in the year the transmitter started signaling again. We took our transmitter locating equipment out and found her skeletal remains on the National Guard lands- the OCTC (Orchard Combat Training Center). By examining her skeletal remains we found undeniable evidence that she’d been killed with a shotgun, including holes in her breastbone and shot still embedded in her spine.

Though extremely saddened that yet another curlew was needlessly shot, we gained valuable information for our study. We not only have proof that recreational shooting continues to be a problem for curlew populations, we also get to reuse that transmitter on another curlew the next season!

Biologist Heather Hayes stands next to Athena the curlew who has a green leg flag with the letters HH on it
Heather Hayes and Athena share the same initials, HH


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