Wings Across the Americas honors the Eastern Golden Eagle Working Group
On March 27, 2013, Wings Across the Americas honored the Eastern Golden Eagle Working Group (pictured here) with its Research and Management Partnership Award.
Sponsored by U.S. Forest Service programs including the National Forest System, State & Private Forestry, Research & Development and International Programs, Wings Across the Americas works with partners to conserve habitats and populations of birds, bats, butterflies, and dragonflies.
Formed in 2010, the Golden Eagle Working Group is an international collaboration of biologists and wildlife managers from more than 20 institutions in the USA and Canada, including the U.S. Forest Service. The Working Group is dedicated to studying the Eastern Golden Eagle and improving its management.
Pictured in Quebec counting eagle nests, the Working Group documents migratory patterns, flight behavior, and new threats such as lead poisoning.
Todd Katzner, a research biologist jointly funded by the U.S. Forest Service and West Virginia University, and Charles Maisonneuve of the Ministère des Ressources naturelles in Quebec, are co-leaders of the Golden Eagle Working group.
In this picture, Katzner is outfitting a golden eagle with a tracking device. This eagle was injured in eastern New York, rehabilitated at Tufts Veterinary Hospital and released with a GPS-GSM telemetry system and tracked for two migratory seasons.
The population of the Golden Eagle in the Eastern United States is sparse. Although there are as many as 35,000 individuals west of the Mississippi River, there are significantly fewer to the east; in fact, as few as 1,000 – 2,500 exist in the region.
Charles Maisonneuve of the Ministère des Ressources naturelles in Quebec is holding an eagle that he and his collaborators captured and telemetered in the southernmost breeding grounds of golden eagles in Quebec.
Research is a critical part of the mission of the Eastern Golden Eagle Working Group. Here Dr. Mark Martell of Minnesota Audubon and Scott Mehus of the National Eagle Center put a U.S. Geological Survey band on an eagle they captured in the Upper Midwest. This region is the westernmost redoubt of the eastern golden eagle.
One tool for monitoring Golden Eagles is a lightweight GPS-GSM telemetry backpack. These telemetry systems collect GPS data, sometimes at 30-second intervals, and send these data over the mobile phone (GSM) network.
Here Jeff Cooper of Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries holds an eagle that he has just outfitted with a telemetry device.
The Eastern Golden Eagle Working Group’s projects include a “camera trapping” program in which approximately 200 volunteers and organizations have supported 150 trail camera stations from Maine to Georgia, including some on experimental research forests managed by the Forest Service. Here an eagle is photographed on the Fernow Experimental Forest in Parsons, W.V.
“Our objective is to ensure the long-term sustainability of Eastern Golden Eagle populations and to make the species a flagship for landscape-scale conservation,” Katzner said. “The survival of a charismatic species like the Golden Eagle truly demonstrates that in the eastern United States, healthy populations of wildlife are not mutually exclusive with large human populations.”