Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Protecting Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) in the Eastern United States
Northeast Region, November 3, 2011
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Golden eagle
Golden eagle - Photo Credit: Craig Koppie, USFWS

In September 2010, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Geological Survey organized a Golden Eagle Science meeting in Ft. Collins, CO. The meeting was a collaborative critique of the status, trends and threats to the golden eagle population in the western states. One of the objectives was to outline a strategy to manage the western population under a Golden Eagle Conservation Plan in collaboration with state, tribal, and international partners.


What became apparent was the need to address a national landscape-level golden eagle population that included the less known population within the eastern United States. These individuals comprise a significant migratory wintering population derived from a breeding contingent in eastern Canada. Currently, there are no documented golden eagle breeding territories in the northeast United States.

In October 2011, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists Craig Koppie, Northeast Region Chesapeake Bay Field Office and Brian Millsap Southwest, Regional Office, Division of Migratory Birds co-presented the Services perspectives on management of golden eagles in the eastern United States at the Raptor Research Foundation Conference in Duluth, MN.

Their presentation provided discussion on several fronts on how the Service will begin to develop a conservation plan to protect golden eagles in the eastern United States, a sizably smaller and declining population than its western counterpart.

Direct threats to the eastern population in Canada and the eastern United States include incidental capture (leg-hold traps), shooting, poisoning, environmental contaminants (lead/mercury) and collision with tower structures. Increasingly at risk from these and the demands for industrial-scale wind energy facilities along higher elevations of mountainous regions in the northeastern United States will likely exacerbate declines in the eastern golden eagle population.

For more information contact:
Craig Koppie

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