On Monday, December 14, veterinary director Dr. Dave McRuer banded and fitted a GPS transmitter on Bald Eagle #15-2090. Dr. Dave also carefully examined the feathers on the eagle’s right wing and determined that since the eagle had been flying very well despite the broken feathers, Bald Eagle #15-2090 would not need the imping [feather replacement] procedure. With her transmitter in place, the eagle was returned to the A3 flight pen to allow the bird to exercise and have ample time to become accustomed to her new equipment prior to her upcoming release.
Each transmitter has a five-digit number written on the side of it in permanent black marker so that the eagle can possibly be identified at a distance. Bald Eagle #15-2090 will now be known as BP39. “BP” represents Berkley Plantation, where the eagle will be released, and the “39” are the last two digits on the transmitter that the eagle is wearing.
The eagle will be a part of an ongoing research study that will monitor eagle movements. This study looks at the data received from these tracked Bald Eagles to determine the range and behavior of Bald Eagles in Virginia’s coastal plain. Migratory behavior is studied as biologists are able to see how far Bald Eagles move in the winter season, and the data will play an important role in modeling how these birds use airspace. By looking at heights at which the eagles fly, average distances, and other specifics, biologists are able to relate this eagle behavior to real-life issues, such as airstrike data.
For the Wildlife Center, this is a fantastic opportunity for additional post-release studies of our rehabilitated raptors. There have been very few studies done in this area. The Wildlife Center will be able to see and share GPS data; the bird will be added to the Eagle Tracking page on our website.
During the rest of the week and throughout the weekend, Bald Eagle BP39 [#15-2090] flew very well and maintained good height and maneuverability while wearing her transmitter. The bird will be released tomorrow, December 22 at Berkley Plantation at 12 noon. For more release details, please click here.