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.