Al Cecere, founder of the American Eagle Foundation

by | Mar 7, 2018

Al Cecere—founder and president of the American Eagle Foundation (AEF), a Tennessee-based nonprofit dedicated to bald eagle rehabilitation, recovery, and breeding programs—recalls seeing an Associated Press photo showing more than 20 dead bald eagles that had been shot by poachers, and how that propelled him into taking action which led to launching AEF. Cecere explains that he was in showbiz in Nashville at the time, with a degree in film production—no degree or training in animal fields or even biology, so he taught himself whatever he could about eagles and birds of prey, attended conferences, and learned from a key mentor named Bob Hatcher, who worked for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency for nearly 40 years. Cecere cites public education as AEF’s largest achievement over the years, while noting the challenges eagles face—in the wild, fewer than 50% survive their first year, not counting birds that are killed by hunters or poachers. He discusses the AEF Nest Cams, which provide live feeds from an eagles nest in Washington D.C., and another in Northeast Florida, describing the habits and yearly patterns of the latter’s occupants, Romeo & Juliet. Cecere also enthuses about Dolly Parton: Dollywood houses the AEF headquarters, and has been a corporate sponsor of the organization since 1991. Cecere recounts the origin of Challenger, a rescued bald eagle, unable to be released back into the wild, that Cecere trained to soar around stadiums during World Series games, NFL Pro bowls and other major events—during the singing of “The Spar Spangled Banner.” (


ALSO: I spoke with Talking Animals “Greyhound Correspondent” Don Goldstein, about the next step in the process of Proposed Amendment 67– which, if passed would phase out greyhound racing in Florida—namely, multiple hearings in Florida the Constitution Revision Commission (CRC), the last of which is slated for March 13 at The University of South Florida, in Saint Petersburg, from 1-7pm. He explained the importance of speaking in support of Prop 67 (that is, to end Florida greyhound racing) at this meeting, noting that those planning to attend can obtain a speaker card at, turn in the card upon arriving at the March 13 meeting, and will be invited to speak for no more than two minutes. Those who are unable to attend can still express their opinion on this issue, Goldstein suggested, by also visiting, where email addresses can be found for all 37 Commissioners—send them an email

COMEDY CORNER: Andy Ritchie’s “Balthazar”

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: We didn’t play Name That Animal Tune today.


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