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Older golden eagles migrate slower to reach breeding areas


Cara J

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Golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) can migrate up to 3,000 miles from wintering to nesting grounds, taking advantage of updrafts to make the journey easier. Conventional wisdom says that older, more experienced migratory birds travel more quickly than juveniles. However, recent research on golden eagles in eastern North America shows young birds fly faster than older ones. Todd Katzner, a research wildlife biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey and co-author on the paper published in The Auk, set out to analyze golden eagles’ flight speed as part of a larger project to understand their movement to evaluate the risk they faced from wind turbines. Between 2007 and 2015, he and his colleagues captured over 80 eagles throughout their winter range in the central and southern Appalachians, from Alabama to New York. They put GPS tracking devices on the birds and followed their movement for time periods ranging from six months to four years. “We could see where they were going, how quickly they were moving,” Katzner said. “This is cutting-edge technology. GPS data gives you accurate locations on the planet, and that’s useful to study animal movement.” The units collected the birds’ location information and transmitted it over the mobile phone [...]

 

Read more: http://wildlife.org/older-golden-eagles-migrate-slower-to-reach-breeding-areas/

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