Bald Eagle Peter Nye

Eagle Home Page Challenge Questions

Today's News
Today's News

Spring's Journey North
Spring's Journey North

Report Your Sightings
Report Your Sightings

Teacher's Manual
Teacher's Manual

Search Journey North
Search Journey North

return to:
JNorth Home Page

. A/CPB Home A/CPB

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle Migration Update: March 9, 1998

Today's Report Contains

Get Ready for the Migration!
The eagles should take off before next update. Last spring, Jim Watson's eagle # 05 began her trip between 3/17 and 3/22, and eagle # 16 took off the same week, sometime between 3/19 and 3/24. Out in New York Peter Nye says, "They'll be heading home soon!"

While waiting for the eagles to migrate, keep a close eye on the weather, and be sure to review Glen Schuster's weekly weather briefs. Here are the weather maps he recommends for Canada:

As the Crow Flies..
Here's a WWW site that lets you find the distance between two places, using latitude and longitude. The distance is calculated "as the crow flies", says the site--but it works for eagles too. It even gives you a map showing the location of both places.

Field Notes from Biologist Peter Nye
Writing directly from his laptop in the field, Peter Nye sends this exciting news:

To: Journey North
From: Peter Nye

Dear Students,
A quick update from New York with some good news! New bald eagle "# F43"is now on-line, our second satellite radio equipped bird for this season.

This large and beautiful adult female (photos to follow) was captured
yesterday (2 March) at the same trap site along the Lower Hudson River as this years other eagle, #F42.

The two men working with me on this project who were manning the blind at the time of capture deserve alot of credit. James Paolino and Eric Lind have been spending up to three consecutive days in the blind, over the past two months. At 12 hours a day, that takes lots of fortitude, patience, or something else! They "lovingly" refer to the 8' x 10' structure as "the asylum". Eagle # F43 now joins ranks with # F42 as we track them locally around their Hudson River wintering area.

The satellite backpacks should give us good information with which to track these two once they leave (as we suspect they will) the wintering ground (very shortly I would suspect) and head home.

As I write this, I am in my vehicle at a trap site in Sullivan County in southeastern NY, where I am watching a deer carcass with our rocket net poised nearby at the edge of a large reservoir. Two immatures (both about 2 yrs. old), are perched very near and are "eyeing" the carcass. We are not really interested in capturing or tracking immatures, so they will get a "free lunch" should they come down to feed. But, hopefully, they will attract some other birds, and hopefully a nice adult.

Other of our trappers are working in the Adirondacks and along the St.
Lawrence River this week, in an effort to catch some birds as they begin to move north this month. Still much open water and very mild here in NY, so wouldn't be surprised to see some early movements by the birds. I will be trapping down here again on Friday. That's all for now.

Peter E. Nye
New York State Dept. Environmental Conservation
Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources
Wildlife Diversity Team, Endangered Species Unit
Delmar, NY

P.S. #F43 is on the Move (& Challenge Question #6)
Back from the field this weekend, Peter Nye sent this latest news:

"Eagle #F43 seems to be on the move rather quickly; we may have caught her on her way through. On 5 March, she was already 35 km north of the capture site, and 25km east of the Hudson River. This 7 March reading puts her at the _________ Reservoir in the state of _________. They have half dozen pairs or so nesting there, and I hope F43 is not one of them! Hope she is just stopping on her way to farther NE, Maine or beyond. As of 7 March, Eagle # F42 is still hanging tight on the lower Hudson near Croton. When/where will she move?"

According to the satellite readings for eagle #F43, how would you complete Peter Nye's sentence above?

Challenge Question #6
"In what state, and near what reservoir, was eagle #F43 on March 7th?"

(To respond to this question, please follow the instructions at the end of
this report.)

Today's Satellite Migration Data from EASTERN EAGLES

Reminder: Challenge Question # 3
Using all satellite data between December 31st and February 18th, plot the winter range of # F 42. Then see if you can answer this question:

Challenge Question # 3
"According to satellite data from #F42, how large is this eagle's winter territory?" (You may give your answer in square miles and/or give the names of the towns which mark the edges of her territory.)

To respond to this question, please follow the instructions at the end of this report.

Latest News from Biologist Jim Watson

"There is only 1 telemetered eagle still on the Skagit River. Most have moved to other wintering areas, and a few birds have started to migrate. I trapped the last eagle for this winter on February 23rd--and she was the 23rd adult we've trapped and released with a satellite transmitter. She was all white except for a couple dark feathers in her crown (freckles). She was very fiesty -- usually the females are quite docile once in hand, and it is the male eagles squirm and bite. Just 2 days after release she was 150 kilometers away!

"You will notice that there are fewer locations for each bird this update. For birds 05, 12, and 13, look closely to see how many days separate the locations compared to the last update. What is the difference? Why would we program the transmitters to transmit more or less often at certain times of the year? How might this affect the overall life of the transmitter?

"All of that is programmed during construction of the PTTs and is fixed. That makes it a challenge to anticipate what will happen. These PTTs are on these basic cycles:

  • during intense winter monitoring; on every 48 hours
    (for 26 cycles which is 52 days)
  • during spring migration: on every 120 hours
    (for 12 cycles which is 60 days);
  • during the breeding period: on every 254 hours
    (for 17 cycles which is 170 days);
  • during fall migration: on every 120 hours
    (for 5 cycles which is 25 days).

The intent of this is to preserve battery life by eliminating transmissions that are not important. One of the technologies they are playing with is remote programming. You can see it would alleviate a lot of problems.

In response to Challenge Questions #4 and #5, here are my thoughts:

Challenge Question # 4
"How tall are the Cascade Mountains over which eagle #13 flew?"

(Click on face of map to enlarge.)

I think #13 went on the north side of Glacier Peak (10,568 ft), and south side of Dome Peak (8,788 ft) and Bonanza Peak (9,511 ft )- up the headwaters of the Suiattle River and down the Entiat River valley. (To find the Suiattle River, look directly east of Darrington.)

Challenge Question # 5
"According to today's migration data, where was each of our 4 eagles on the latest date shown?" (Give the name of the town nearest to each bird.)

Eagle # "Latest Date" Nearest Town
05 02/14/98 Marblemount
12 02/17/98 Friday Harbor on San Juan Island
13 02/15/98 Omak
16 02/17/98 Bellingham

Today's Satellite Migration Data from WESTERN EAGLES

Make Predictions Now
Plan to compare Eagle #05 & #16's migrations this year to their trips last year. Will they take off at the same time this spring? Will they travel the same route, and at the same rate? Remember, data from the 1997 migrations of these 2 birds will be added to the WWW as the 1998 data arrive.

How to Respond to Today's Bald Eagle Challenge Questions

Please answer only ONE question in each e-mail message.

1. Address an e-mail message to:

2. In the Subject Line of your message write: Challenge Question # 3 (or #6)

3. In the body of the message, give your answer one Challenge Question # 3 or (#6).

The Next Bald Eagle Migration Update will Be Posted on March 23, 1998.

Copyright 1998 Journey North. All Rights Reserved.