Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Today's News Report Your Sightings How to Use Journey North Search Journey North

Eastern Bald Eagle Migration Update: February 10, 1999

Today's Update Includes:

Field Notes from Biologist Peter Nye

Dear Students,
Eagle Wearing Satellite Backpack

Hello to all returning and new eagle trackers!! This is Peter Nye from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. I'm back for the 5th year with Journey North, ready to share our satellite-tracking work with bald eagles here in New York State with you.

First the most exciting news: We captured our first 2 eagles of the 1999 season on 1 February! In addition, two of last year's eagles have completed their round trip migration and are now back in New York. So, we already have 4 eagles "on-line" for you to help us follow.

Today's Satellite Data from EASTERN Eagles

Our first eagle, F81, was captured by our trapping team of Craig Thompson and Darcy Misurelli along the Upper Hudson River only about 20 miles north of Albany, NY. This adult male was captured along the shoreline using a bownet and fish set. He's equipped with a state of the art satellite radio-transmitter which should be transmitting for about three years total. In 1992, the original satellite radio transmitters we used lasted just about one year only. Now, they last up to three years, giving us the ability to track eagles along their migrations to and from our wintering areas for three complete seasons. This is way cool stuff! Now, we can see if these eagles follow the same routes each year, and if they leave and arrive at their destinations at the same time each year. Stay tuned with us as we follow him!

Nye's team provides a tasty treat for hungry eagles

The second eagle, # F82, is an adult female weighing 12 1/2 pounds. She was captured by Blanche Town and Matt Barblich along the St. Lawrence River (Wellesley Island) in northern NY, an area where we have been working on eagles for several years now. This bird was caught with a rocket net using a deer carcass for bait. She is also sporting a satellite radio transmitter. Check out the latest satellite data and see if you can answer the question I always have when we release an eagle:

Challenge Question #1
"What do you think these eagles will do once released? According to satellite data, did eagles #F81 and #F82 move far off, or stay in the general area, after capture?"

Weather Challenge: For High Flying Students (Advanced)
Why do you think our first 2 eagles were suddenly captured on the same day, 1 February? (Trapping teams began work this year the week of 11 January.) Check out the weather systems in and near NY on 1 and 2 Feb to see if you can come up with a reason why eagles might have been "feeding up" on 1 February. I have some opinions on this from years of trapping.

Challenge Question #2
"What weather conditions might have warned our NY eagles to feed up on 1 February?"

We have been involved in research and monitoring of our wintering eagles for the past 20 years in order to help us understand:

  • which critical habitats eagles are using here in New York,
  • when and where they migrate,
  • where they are nesting during the summer months;

In addition, in our Hudson River study area we are trying to define essential habitat areas and chemical contaminant loads (in both prey and in eagles using this area). All in an attempt to give us as much information as possible to properly manage these birds and to ensure that we keep them a viable part of our wildlife heritage here in New York.

Our objective is to capture and equip a total of five adult bald eagles this winter, so our trapping continues this very moment. It should be an exciting and busy winter; thanks for joining us!

Eagleye Nye

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

Comparing Migration Year to Year, Season to Season
Spring & Fall Migration 1998
This map shows the round trip migration of eagles F43 & F44. Peter Nye expects their radios to last another year. Keep an eagle eye on these birds and maintain this migration chart so you can compare 3 season's migrations:

The fall, 1998 satellite data for these birds is provided below. Try to figure out when they began their fall migration, what routes they took, how many days they spent migrating, the major areas they may have stopped in, and when they returned to NY. For extra credit, you could even go back deeper and see what the weather conditions were like during this period and if they might have had any influence on the movement of these birds south.

Fall, 1998 Migration Data: Eagle #F43 and Eagle #F44

How to Respond to Today's 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 # 1
(or Challenge Question #2)
3. In the body of EACH message, answer ONE of the questions above.

The Next Bald Eagle Migration Update Will be Posted on February 24, 1999.

Copyright 1999 Journey North. All Rights Reserved. Please send all questions, comments, and suggestions to our feedback form

Today's News Today's News Report Your Sightings How to Use Journey North Search Journey North