Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
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Golden Eagle Wintering Population Discovered on Maryland’s Eastern Shore!
Northeast Region, July 6, 2011
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Golden eagle close up, Craig Koppie USFWS
Golden eagle close up, Craig Koppie USFWS - Photo Credit: n/a
Eagle Coordinator Craig Koppie with captured golden eagle, courtesy of Kennon Smith
Eagle Coordinator Craig Koppie with captured golden eagle, courtesy of Kennon Smith - Photo Credit: n/a

An immature, male golden eagle was captured, banded, radio-tagged then released at Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge in Cambridge MD. Craig Koppie, Eagle Coordinator and Raptor Biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Chesapeake Bay Field Office, captured the second-year old eagle as part of a collaborative research study under the Eastern Golden Eagle Working Group (EGEWG).


In late winter 2011, cameras set up at the refuge near a bald eagle communal roost area, began recording regular visitations by at least three golden eagles to the bait site. Using deer carcasses as a food source, two golden eagles were captured, one week apart, using a spring-loaded bownet.  The 8.5 pound, second-year male was fitted with a transmitter which will provide information to biologists by way of cellular technology.


Researchers in the U.S. and Canada have begun to quantify and inventory wintering and home ranges of the eastern golden eagle population. There is much more information about the western golden eagle population than its eastern counterpart.


Over the years, there is growing concern that golden eagles and other raptors, including migratory birds and bats may be adversely affected by large scale wind energy development in the eastern U.S. should they occur within important migration corridors. The central Appalachian Mountain region is an important migratory pathway for wintering golden eagles.


Many other proposals are now being considered for coastal and offshore wind development, including areas of the Delmarva Peninsula. The Delmarva Peninsula is a significant coastal migration corridor during the fall and spring. It appears now this area may also be an important over wintering area for golden eagles too, more so than previously determined.  


This is the first year of an ongoing cooperative study involving Chesapeake Bay Field Office, Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries and EGEWG.  Through this effort we will gain increased knowledge about the population status, dispersal corridors, nesting and roosting areas in the eastern U.S. and Canada so we may be able to adequately address present and future risks to golden eagles.


For more information contact:


Craig Koppie



Contact Info: Kathryn Reshetiloff, 410-573-4582, kathryn_reshetiloff@fws.gov
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