HUNTERSVILLE – Garibaldi, one of Carolina Raptor Center’s six resident American bald eagles, died Tuesday night, June 21, in the eagle aviary.

Raptor center officials did not know the cause of Garibaldi’s death Wednesday. The eagle was about 20 years old and had lived a normal lifespan for a wild bald eagle.

Garibaldi came to Carolina Raptor Center from the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey in Maitland, Fla., in 1998, having already reached maturity with a full white head and tail. He had retained a hole in the skin of one wing that caused problems with his flight.

Garibaldi made headlines in 2005 when the netting over the eagle aviary collapsed in a storm, and he escaped. He remained on the lam about seven months, until center staff captured him, thin and undernourished, in February 2006 near Beverly Hills Elementary School in Concord. During the search, center supporters distributed T-shirts asking: “Have You Seen Garibaldi?”

After rehab, Garibaldi returned to the repaired aviary to much fanfare where he lived happily for the past five years. Garibaldi’s remains will be sent to the National Eagle Repository. Find information about the repository at its website,

The center plans to create a memorial for him near the eagle aviary. Donations to the Garibaldi Eagle Memorial Fund can be sent to Carolina Raptor Center, P.O. Box 16443, Charlotte, NC 28297. The fund will be used to help replace the eagle aviary netting in the near future.