Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Eastern Golden Eagles

Tom Magarian, a familiar name to many of you because he served as a hawk counter here in fall 2004, 2005 and 2006, was in at CRE today, fresh from counting hawks at Tussey Mountain near State College, PA. Tom told me they had over 200 Golden Eagles this month!

I wondered where all those birds breed, and the answer, it turns out, is what you'd expect: eastern Canada. Tom put me onto a very cool web site where you can track the day-by-day migrations of GPS-transmitter equipped Goldens - many of them display migration paths where they elude watches on the Kittatinny Ridge as well as Duluth. I was also surprised to see the variety of wintering ranges these birds used - from New Brunswick, Canada all the way down to Kentucky. It's also interesting to get a sense of the size of a Golden Eagle's winter range - many of which were mapped at well over 20 miles across! This explains why wintering Goldens such as those we see at Jake's Landing can be so elusive - they might be far away from the place they were last reported only a day later.

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