Tracking Golden Eagle #11-0017

Golden Eagle #11-0017 was admitted to the Wildlife Center in January 2011 after he was found caught in a foothold trap in Craig County, Virginia. After one month of rehabilitation, the eagle was released at Harvey’s Knob Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway. 

This was the first eagle that Center staff were able to track along with biologists in the Eastern Golden Working Group, an international partnership founded in 2010 to address research gaps and to gather basic information about the distribution and ecology of Gold Eagles. Biologists are still learning more about the Golden Eagle population east of the Mississippi, though they know that the eastern population of Golden Eagles typically spends the breeding season in Canada and winters in Virginia/West Virginia.

Center staff were able to track this Golden Eagle for about six weeks before data transmissions stopped. In the month following the eagle's release, the bird remained in Virginia, flying through Botetourt and Craig Counties. On March 21, the eagle started to move north on what ended up being a 10-day journey to Quebec, Canada. On that migration trip, the eagle traveled more than 764 miles in 10 days and averaged 95 miles per travel day.

Date                      Start of Day                        End of Day                                          Miles Traveled

March 21:            Craig County                    West of Harrisonburg                   88 miles

March 22:            west of Harrisonburg     Berkeley Springs, WV                 79 miles

March 23:            rest day in WV                                                                                     1 mile

March 24:            Berkeley Springs, WV       MD/PA border                            55 miles

March 25:            MD/PA border                    Mercersburg, PA                          29 miles

March 26:            Mercersburg, PA                 PA/NY border                              210 miles

March 27:            PA/NY border                     Worcester, NY                               89 miles

March 28:            rest day around Worcester, NY                                                0 miles

March 29:           Worcester, NY                       Saranac, NY                                   150 miles

March 30:            Saranac, NY                           Montreal, Quebec                     63 miles+


Unfortunately, the eagle did not "check in" again after reaching Quebec. The biologists who were following along with this eagle (and many other Golden Eagles with transmitters) anticipated that once the bird was about 100 miles north of Montreal, it would likely be out of cell range for the remainder of the season.  According to data on other tracked Golden Eagles, the birds typically leave their breeding grounds in late October. Though staff and biologists hoped that this Golden Eagle would start transmitting data again in the fall, the transmitter remained silent.