Thursday, November 22, 2012

Where are they now?

The great thing about attaching satellite transmitters to our eagles is that the information is fed to us on a regular basis. If the eagles leave the area, we won't have to worry about tracking them by foot or in a plane-- the satellites will download the GPS locations of the birds and we can access the information online. Our transmitters collect a GPS location every hour during daylight, and we receive a list of the locations every two to four days. This means that we're already seeing where our eagles are moving!

So where are they now?

First up: the ladies!

4N, one of our two adult females, has been sticking close to home! Her movements have been very restricted to the area right around where she was captured. Those tourists out on the Haines Highway these past couple weeks attending the 18th Annual Alaska Bald Eagle Festival had a really good chance of spotting 4N near the Council Grounds, a popular location for photography. It will be interesting to see if 4N's movement patterns change as we get further into winter, or if she's just a really good competitor and gets all the fish she needs sitting in one spot!

Above is a satellite photograph with 4N's GPS locations overlaid. The river running through the center of the photo is the Chilkat, with the Tsirku River coming in from the left-hand side. In the top left-hand corner of the photo, you can just make out Klukwan, the Tlingit Indian village at 22 mile on the Haines Highway. It may look like we haven't received too many GPS points from 4N, but this picture is deceptive! 4N moves so little, and revisits spots so frequently, that a lot of her relocations are on top of one another.

3E, the other adult female, has been moving around a bit more, but is still within the general vicinity:

Here you can see 3E's recent movements. She's spent some time up on the ridge to the south of the Chilkat, but has mainly stuck to the river flats around the Chilkat and the Tsirku. Of the three females, we tagged, 3E has been moving around the most.

4P, the juvenile female, has been moving in similar patterns to 3E, spending a little time on the ridge south of the Chilkat, and otherwise traversing the Chilkat and Tsirku flats.

Next up? The males!

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