The migrating bird, named Min, was fitted with a device designed to text its coordinates back to researchers.
But they had not reckoned on the Steppe eagle– which usually migrate to southern Russia or Kazakhstan – taking a 3,000-mile scenic route and spending a large amount of time out of range, before arriving inIran.
From there, hundreds of text messages were hit with a 49 rouble (60p) roaming tariff – leading to the monster bill.
The scientists, from Russian Raptor Research and Conservation Network, were monitoring 13 birds in their routes from Siberia.
But Min is said to have first flown to an area without mobile coverage, meaning her messages were held back for four months.
She, then, travelled almost 3,000 miles onto Iran, where the backlog was released, meaning all previous messages were sent in one go.
Researcher Elena Schneider said: “She sent us (all at once) hundreds of expensive SMSs with her summer locations...spending the entire collective (phone) budget for our eagles.”
The cost is said to have been in the tens of thousands of roubles.
The scientists revealed their predicament this week when they launched a crowdfunding bid to pay off the “astronomical” bill.
But the adventure had a happy ending on Friday: after learning of the team’s dilemma on Friday, mobile phone operator Megafon said it would cancel the debt and put the project on a special, cheaper tariff.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies