Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Golden eagle on the move

Last fall, there was a golden eagle that had gotten caught in a leg hold trap in Buffalo County, WI. He was rehabilitated at The Raptor Center, fitted with a transmitter, and set back to the wild in March 2009. He went up to the arctic circle in the Kitikmeot region of Nuvaat, Canada around 66.9N and 95.8W. You can follow the maps and path he took up to his spring/summer grounds. He is now on the move south! Here is a map of some data points his transmitter is sending back over October. You can follow the story at Audubon, MN's site.

I actually headed to the area in WI where this, and other golden eagles, have been wintering last fall in the hopes of being able to get a transmitter on an eagle before it was determined that this bird would be a good candidate. It was quite an eye-opener for me - being from SD, our goldens are very used to open areas, where the only place to perch is a lone cottonwood or a barn roof or a telephone pole. The birds wintering in this region of WI roost in tree-covered valleys, and never perch on telephone poles. It was hypothesized that these birds were coming from this region in Canada, and not just coming from the west. With the differences in their hunting, perching and other choices, I learned a lot about how species adapt to the environment they know, and continue to make the same choices in similar areas. The first photo in this set of three has a golden perched in the typical woody area - what a shock for me! The other two photos show the woody sides of the valley where a couple of the birds perched, and then hunted wild turkeys and fox squirrels during the day.

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