Golden Eagle Athena Checks In From Northern Wisconsin, Headed South Toward Bernheim

By Andrew Berry

Athena, the golden eagle that winters in Bernheim Forest, has again checked in during her 1700-mile migration. Her location on November 1, 2022 was in northern Wisconsin, flying over rugged terrain in the Flambeau River region. We expect she will continue towards Bernheim but may spend some time resting in Wisconsin’s Driftless Area before making the crossing over the Midwestern agricultural lands.

During her spring migration, we had many questions about the upcoming summer. Athena had lost her mate Harper in 2021 and had spent last winter at Bernheim and the surrounding knobs. Mostly she was seen alone, but near the end of winter we observed her interacting with another golden eagle. When she finally encountered a cellular tower and checked in on November 1, she began to upload over 14,000 GPS data points from the previous spring migration, summer months, and fall migration. We now see how she behaved upon arrival to Churchill, Manitoba in April 2022. GPS locations also tell an interesting story of the late spring and summer months, one that may take some time to unravel. We can confirm she returned to her territory Wapusk National Park, where she continued to defend her territory and nesting locations.

Stay tuned as we follow Athena on her fall 2022 migration south towards Bernheim. We will also discuss how connectivity, land use, and climate change impact migratory routes and pose mounting challenges for golden eagles and other migratory species.  And of course, we will let you know how Athena spent her summer months.

A special thanks to Beckham Bird ClubCellular Tracking TechnologiesConservation Science Global Inc., and all the supporters of Birds of Bernheim that make this incredible project possible. The support from Bernheim’s members, volunteers, staff, and donors are what allow us to protect wildlife and steward their habitats. Stay tuned as we follow Athena on her migration south.

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