The Capture of Eagle #E49
By Craig Thompson and Brian Conway
February 19, 2001
Our Hudson River trappers Craig Thompson and Brian Conway scored again
on President's Day (some of us still worked that day!), capturing our second
new satellite-Eagle this winter. Eagle E49, we believe to be a female,
was captured about 36 miles north of Albany along the Hudson. Eagle E49
was the result of specific reconnaissance work which laid the groundwork
for the capture, as you'll see in Brian's field report which follows:
This time, we took a slightly different approach in our trapping effort because
we were after two particular Eagles that had been seen consistently along the
northern Hudson River. So instead of spreading a number of traps around an
area we spent three days studying these birds' habits until we found a pattern
we could use. As it turned out, we found that when they approached the river
from their roost early in the morning, they almost always perched in one of
two trees along the western shore. So before dawn we hiked to these two spots
and set padded leghold traps baited with a duck and a gizzard shad, the same
type of trap that had captured Eagle E47.
Before the sun had even risen the birds were in one of their favorite perches,
eyeing the duck. Within minutes, one adult began moving toward the bait, using
lower and lower perches to check everything out. Just as the Eagle landed on
the ice an immature Eagle appeared and began dropping toward the bait. Immediately
both adults were in hot pursuit, and the young Eagle fled upriver fast. With
the intruder gone, one adult landed on the duck and began feeding. It wasn't
long before the Eagle took a step backward and landed right on the trap. The
whole process had taken about 15 minutes.
Like Eagle E47, this Eagle had never been banded. So we banded
it Eagle E49, took a blood sample and a few measurements, and attached
the satellite transmitter.
It's hard to say if this Eagle was a male or female. Usually you can tell because....________.
Either way, it's now online and you can follow its migration also this spring."