Rock Island Ecological Services Field Office

Midwest Region


Rock Island Field Office

1511 47th Avenue
Moline, IL 61265
Phone: 309-757-5800
Fax: 309-757-5807
TTY: 1-800-877-8339 (Federal Relay)




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Visit the Let's Go Outside web resource by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for information on children activities. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is a proud member of the Children and Nature Network.


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biologist releasing a bald eagle after attaching a radio.

Bald Eagle Telemetry Study

By Sara Schmuecker

Over the past three years, the Rock Island Field Office has worked with West Virginia University and USGS on a project that uses modern telemetry (GPS-GSM) to provide information about eagles in the Midwest and their migratory routes. Data collected includes flight and behavioral information collected at frequencies of up to one data point per second! The partners have trapped and put transmitters on more than 30 eagles. This past spring, Rock Island Field Office put transmitters on eaglets for the first time, including two hatched from a nest located inside an active wind farm.


The team has an end goal of 50 eagles with transmitters, which will each provide about five to six years of data. we funded this study initially with field office funds and a small grant from the American Eagle Foundation. Project funding has expanded to over $250,000 which was made possible by a variety of unique funding partners: American Eagle Foundation, Alcoa, ITC Transmission, MidAmerican Energy, Avian Power Line Interaction Committee, American Wind and Wildlife Institute, FWS, WVU foundation, and the Peregrine Fund.


This research will provide information previously not known to science due to limitations of older telemetry systems and will serve as a guiding document to wind energy developers. Information gathered from this research will inform decisions regarding the issuance of permits for limited take and disturbance to eagles, and contribute information to help us avoid and minimize impacts to eagles throughout the Midwest.


Map showing flight paths of 11 bald eagles Adobe PDF Icon




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Last updated: January 11, 2017