The journey began late last March, near the western edge of Connecticut, before taking a northward path to a remote spot near the Quebec-Labrador border. After a summer spent there, the return began in October and ended back in the same area it began.
Not exactly where West Virginia University researcher Todd Katzner expected this golden eagle to travel.
Katzner has been researching golden eagles for nearly two decades but the data he was able to gather from this particular eagle’s migration using a device of his own design has given him a new perspective on the bird’s behavior.
Using the device, which provides data every 30 seconds instead of every hour, Katzner was able to successfully track the travels of a female eagle that had been rehabilitated at Tufts Wildlife Clinic in Massachusetts.
The findings may prove crucial to the species’ survival.
Katzner, a research assistant professor of wildlife and fisheries resources in the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design, and Phil Turk, an assistant professor of statistics at WVU’s Eberly College of Arts and Sciences, have received funding from several federal and state conservation agencies, individuals and wind power business owners to study the birds’ flight paths. The goal was for the researchers to provide advice about the development of future wind power plants that would be less harmful to birds or interfere with their migratory patterns. In 2011, the pair received a $321,000 grant from the Bureau of Land Management, a component of the U.S. Department of the Interior, to provide data and analysis on eagle movements in California.