Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

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Bald Eagle Migration Update: February 8, 2000

Today's Report Includes:

Welcome from Bald Eagle Biologist Peter Nye

Hello again Journey North students! It's great to have you following our eagle studies again this year. As those of you who have been with us before know, we have been involved in long-term bald eagle research here in New York State since the late 1970's. This has involved live-capture, marking and radio-tagging eagles. Our goal is to understand the eagles' movements and origins--and perhaps most importantly--to identify the critical habitats they use and rely on year after year.

In the early years we relied on "conventional", vhf radio transmitters to follow eagles around. This meant that we had to try to keep up with eagles from the ground as they flew or migrated; not an easy task to keep up with an eagle! Beginning in about 1995, new technology became available to us, whereby radio transmitters that could be tracked by orbiting satellites came into use. This of course meant we no longer had to chase eagles around with a car or small airplane and hope we didn't lose them! Now, once tagged with one of these "PTT's" (platform transmitter terminals), we can track an eagle all the time, every day, no matter where it goes, from a computer at our desk using orbiting satellites. We have tracked about 16 eagles so far from New York in this manner, and are doing more each year.

Also Back for Another Season
Three of the eagles we tracked last spring are still transmitting data: Eagles F44, F81 and F83. This means you will be able compare the migrations of these individual eagles from one season to the next. Until last spring, the batteries in the transmitters usually didn't last for more than one year--so I'm learning things that were simply not possible before.

But the Journey SOUTH is Still Underway!

Bald Eagle Migration
(Nov. 1999 - Jan. 2000)

The migration data from each eagle's southbound migration is provided below. As you will see, we are beginning Journey North before the Journey SOUTH is complete! Eagle F81 is still not back in his wintering area yet. Eagles F43 and F83 only recently returned to the wintering grounds (where they were captured), after summering in Canada.

Welcome Aboard to Eagle K70
We are trapping now steadily through February and hope to deploy about four more satellite radios on eagles this winter. As of last week, we have our first new eagle "on-line"--the first capture of the season! On 2 February, Eagle K70 (an adult female), was captured by our trapper in Upstate New York, Blanche Town. Eagle K70 is now transmitting from the capture location, near ____ Island on the _____ River (44.339 N, -76.020 W).

Challenge Question #1
"Can you figure out exactly where was Eagle K70 captured? Using the latitude and longitude provided, name the river and the nearest island." (If you need a good map, try the Tiger Map Service)

(To respond to this question, please follow the instructions below.)

Counting All Eagles
We conducted our mid-winter survey in New York on January 15. We had record results again this year. My helicopter portion in southeast NY counted 238 eagles. This is amazing! Especially when you consider that when I started doing these surveys in 1978 the eagle counts were only in the 20s! It should be another exciting and busy winter; thanks for joining us!

"Eagleye Nye"
Peter E. Nye
New York State Dept. Environmental Conservation
Delmar, NY

A Closer Look at "Fall" Migration
Using the map and migration data in today's report, compare and contrast each bird's journey south.

In our next update, Peter Nye will tell us what surprised him most about last fall's migration. Which leads us to ask you...

Challenge Question #2
"What did you learn about 'fall migration' that surprised you the most?"

Challenge Question #3
"What good news does the fall migration data suggest about the population survey in NY on Jan. 15?"

(To respond to these questions, please follow the instructions below.)

How to Respond to Today's Challenge Questions
Please answer ONLY ONE question in EACH e-mail message.

1. Address an e-mail message to:
2. In the Subject Line of your message write: Challenge Question # 1
(or Challenge Question #2)
3. In the body of EACH message, answer ONE of the questions above.

The Next Bald Eagle Migration Update Will be Posted on February 22, 2000.

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