TRACK A GOLDEN EAGLE IN EASTERN NORTH AMERICA AND CALIFORNIA
Todd Katzner’s research group, in collaboration with partners throughout the country, has embarked on a program to study the migration patterns of golden eagles in the Appalachian region of the eastern USA and in California. In late 2006 and into 2007 our team started this project by outfitting three eagles with satellite telemetry devices (PTTs). Since that time we have embarked on a research adventure involving the development of an entirely new system of wildlife tracking, outfitting ~50 birds with telemetry units and expansion of our research from eastern North America throughout California. Our research has now expanded to the point where we are working with new species and tracking birds across the world.
In 2007, our team founded the telemetry company Cellular Tracking Technologies LLC. Our company makes GPS-GSM telemetry systems. These systems collect locational information using the Global Positioning System (GPS) and sends these data over the mobile phone network (GSM: Global System for Mobile communications). Sometimes we incorporate a VHF unit into our GPS-GSM system, so that an observer on the ground can follow an animal with a handheld Yagi antenna. GPS-GSM telemetry systems can collect GPS data with incredibly high frequency – we sometimes collect data at 30-second intervals – and store them until it is convenient to send these data over the GSM system. To date, we have published several scientific papers showing the results of our research with these remarkable tools. To see those papers, visit this web page or email Todd Katzner.
Our two first golden eagles were trapped near Central City, PA.The first, a 3420 g (7 lb, 8.6 oz) male, was captured at 13:00 local time on 23 November 2006 (Thanksgiving Day!). This bird was at least four years old, but not quite a full adult. He was released at the Allegheny Front Hawkwatch and quickly moved south. The second bird, a 3530 g (7 lb, 12.5 oz) male, was caught at 10:20 two days later, on 25 November 2006. This bird was younger – at least two years old. He was also released at the hawkwatch.
Since that initial November, we and our collaborators have captured and telemetered ~70 eagles. These birds have been captured in West Virginia (n = 10), Virginia (n = 39), Pennsylvania (n =11), and Quebec (n = 7) and Maryland (n = 2). In general these birds breed in Canada and spend their winters in the central and southern Appalachians, from upstate New York down to Tennessee and North Carolina.
Click here to see the movements of these eagles, visit our track an eagle web page or our track archive.
If you want information on the telemetry units we are using, click here.
For questions, contact Todd Katzner.