Western Bald Eagle Migration Update: February 10, 1999
Today's Report Includes:
Field Notes from Biologist Jim Watson
To: Journey North
From: Jim Watson
I am conducting a wintering study of bald eagles on Washington's Skagit River. This river, and its tributaries, support up to 500 eagles that feed on chum salmon from November through February. These salmon spawn on the upper river and their carcasses wash onto gravel bars where the eagles congregate to feed.
During the same time, recreationists congregate on the river to fish for steelhead (a large rainbow trout) and watch the eagles. Because of potential concerns for disturbance of the eagles from these activities, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service, and Department are funding a study to determine where these eagles come from, how long they survive, and if their nesting populations are healthy.
The research began in 1996, and will continue through the end of 1999. To determine where the eagles come from, we are using satellite telemetry that allows me to retrieve the locations of the eagles right from my computer--within an hour or two of sending a signal, I can tell where the eagles are several hundred kilometers away! There are also small VHF transmitters on the eagles that allow us to follow them on the river or locate them if they should die.
As always, my wife and sons, 12-year old Cory, and 10-year
old Jesse, often assist me on the study (see photo). Its hard to believe that these "fledgling scientists"
are at the age when I was 25 years ago when I became interested in raptors--perhaps someday they will be "fully-fledged"
Challenge Question #3: Wandering Around Washington?
Today's migration data are provided below. Plot each eagle's locations on your map, and see if you can answer this question:
Today's Migration Data
Comparing Migration Year to Year, Season to Season
Keep an eagle eye on this bird and maintain this migration chart so you can compare 3 season's migrations:
How to Respond to Today's Challenge Question
1. Address an e-mail message to: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. In the Subject Line of your message write: Challenge Question # 3
3. In the body of your message, answer the question above.
The Next Bald Eagle Migration Update Will be Posted on February 24, 1999.
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