The Raptor Center assisted with more eagle research last week. Over the past three years, USDA Wildlife Services, in partnership with USFWS, Audubon Minnesota and The Raptor Center, has put GPS transmitters on several bald eagles as part of a study looking at eagle activity around a local airport. Just this past week, Wildlife Service biologists were able to trap two bald eagles, one juvenile and one adult. Both eagles were examined at The Raptor Center and fitted with satellite transmitters. Blood and feather samples were also taken to evaluate for contaminants such as lead and mercury.
As part of the study, the juvenile bird was trans-located from the airport site to a more northern location in an effort to reduce risk of air strikes, a major public safety concern. Two previous juveniles have been successfully trans-located in the past couple of years, spending the summers in the north woods area and moving south during the winter. The adult eagle was not trans-located due to breeding season, but the data from the transmitter will help us learn how eagles use the airspace in that area.
The USDA has generously provided TRC blog readers with information on one recently trapped bird, (known as Eagle 70).
The photos in this posting show the transmitter being placed on the bird by Dr. Julia Ponder while it is safely anesthetized. As the photos from Golden Eagle 42 show in earlier postings, the transmitter is fitted like a backpack onto the bird, and checked to make sure it will not impede flight or otherwise affect the bird’s activities. Identifying bands were placed on the bird’s legs. The project, or color, band is green 02/M.