Source: Pioneer News
February 12, 2019
CLERMONT — Bernheim officials announced that they are now tracking a second eastern golden eagle, a female and companion of the male raptor they have been tracking for four years. The project is believed to be the first pair of golden eagles tracked together in the eastern United States. Bernheim officials cited the large forest block habitat that Bernheim provides as critical to the preservation of this magnificent species.
In partnership with Cellular Tracking Technologies and Conservation Science Global, the Bernheim team briefly captured the nearly 12-pound majestic female and outfitted her with a GPS satellite transmitter. They are now able to follow her movements along with Harper, the male eastern golden eagle they have been tracking since 2015.
“These two golden eagles are spending time together,” said Andrew Berry, Bernheim’s Forest Manager. “From the transmitter signals we can tell they are roosting and flying together. We have also observed them in the field and on trail cameras together.”
Berry said eastern golden eagles are thought to mate for life, but we do not know how or if they migrate together to Bernheim Forest in the winter. If this ends up being a breeding pair Bernheim can learn how a pair of golden eagles interact during migrations, at Bernheim Forest, and on their breeding grounds in Canada.
He called the research opportunity extraordinary for a conservation organization like Bernheim and pointed to Bernheim’s size (16,137 acres) as the reason why Bernheim Forest is a winter destination for several eastern golden eagles.
“Kentucky’s golden eagles need large forest blocks to survive the winter. This project has shown that golden eagles at Bernheim avoid inhabited areas, staying within 5000 acres of protected interior forest.” said Berry.
Berry expects the golden eagles to be at Bernheim through early March and then head north to their summer nesting grounds in Canada. The data Bernheim collects is being shared with others in the golden eagle research community, working together to expand the knowledge and protection of eastern golden eagles.