Bald Eagle Migration Update: March 31, 2004
Today's Report Includes:
Eagles on the Map
Field Notes from Peter Nye
Hello Eagle Watchers,
A Closer Look at Golden Eagle A20:
Will eagle A20 follow the same patterns he did last year? What do we know about A20 (hint: how old?)?
It appears that golden eagle A00 may be "home" now, in looking at the latest data. What do you think? Was this a quicker trip than last year?
Finally, our new bald eagle V98 remains in our Adirondacks. Now this has me wondering if she might be a breeder from up there and simply be "home?" It's still too early to tell - stay tuned!
Until next week, keep up that interest, preserve what's left of our open-spaces (and encourage your parents to also...), and do well in school! We need you to grow up and take charge and make sure we don't destroy our planet and all the wonderful living things in it!
Endangered Species Unit
New Light Shed on Transmitters
Some interesting opportunities are ahead. We will be trying out some solar-powered satellite transmitters later this spring on some of our nestling eagles, and it is just possible, if there is adequate sun continuously recharging the batteries, that a unit could last for 5 years or more. This will be interesting to test. These units have small solar-cells right on top of the transmitter.
Migrating Eagle A00: discussion of CQ #16
"By what date had Eagle A00 arrived in her nesting region last year? How many days did her migration take?"
Luke wrote to share his calculations, “Eagle number A00 arrived in his nesting region by April 10, 2003. He left his winter home on March 17, 2003 so therefore it took him 24 days to make the trip.”
Since Eagleye Nye thinks that A00 may have arrived at her summer destination we can calculate how many days it took her this year. She headed out on around 3/5/04 and seems to be settled in on 3/24/04. How many days do you calculate this took? Did she migrate faster or slower this year?
More Eagle Investigations: Discussion of CQ #17
Last week we asked, “When did Golden eagle A20 take off in 2003? What is your prediction for this year? Will he leave about the same time?”
Now that A20 has taken off we know that this bird’s migration started right around March 24 this year. Thanks for your predictions!
Habitat Loss: The Newest Threat to Bald Eagles
Eagleye Nye has spent most of his adult life trying to save a once healthy population of bald eagles from extinction. In his work he has netted, tagged and cared for hundreds of eagles over the two decades he's been in charge of one of the most successful reintroduction programs in the country.
Thirty years ago eagles were on the edge of extinction caused by the pesticide DDT. Today's biggest threat to the Bald eagle is habitat destruction. According to Nye, each winter during the mid-winter aerial survey of New York more and more woodlands disappear. In a recent (winter 2004) New York Times interview about the New York eagle population, Eagleye Nye was quoted, "Their numbers are going through the roof," he said, "but the question now is whether, by 2050, the habitat they need is still going to be here to support them or will we keep whittling away at it so that the habitat disappears?"
What is being done? And, what can YOU do? Read on:
Try This! Habitat Conservation Observations in Your Neighborhood
Begin an experiment in your own backyard, neighborhood, park or schoolyard. Grab your notebook and a tape measure and head outside to look for nests. Squirrel nests may be the easiest to spot since their large, leafy nest bowl is so visible, but a good observer should be able to spot bird nests, too.
Once you have identified the location of a nest make some notes about the nesting sites. Consider some of the same questions the National Park Service is using to analyze Bald Eagle nesting sites:
Now read through your research findings. Can you make some generalizations about the nesting locations? Do certain types of animals nest in more remote areas? Are some nests found close to buildings or recreational areas? Using your research, can you find a way to teach others about the importance of protecting nesting habitat?
Chronic Wasting Disease and Eagles
Our Eagle Expert was asked last week whether we should be concerned about eagles preying on the carcasses of diseased animals and consequently becoming affected by the diseases. Of special concern was the possibility that eagles might contract Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) from deer and elk populations. Fortunately experts today tell us there is no evidence that the prions (very tiny protein-like bodies) of CWD cause disease in eagles or other predators and scavengers.
Univ. of MN veterinary scientist Jan Shivers explains CWD graphically, "Prion proteins replicate themselves through a domino effect by touching another similar-acting normal protein in the animal's brain and changing its molecular configuration to abnormal. The reaction continues on and on... binding the proteins together like the zigzag pleats of an accordion, if you can picture that. The resulting reaction creates a nonfunctional space-occupying mass, like Alzheimer's plaques."
No Perfect Match-Up
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