Harper Update: he’s found his summer home

By Andrew Berry

A tundra bog in Churchill, Manitoba

We are pleased to announce that the golden eagle Harper has completed his migration from Bernheim Forest to his breeding grounds in Canada. He arrived in Churchill, Manitoba on March 30, 2018. Churchill is a town on the Hudson Bay best known for polar bears, beluga whales, and spectacular northern lights displays. It is also the same end destination as Harper’s 2015 migration.

Throughout Harper’s migration, he displayed exceptional navigation and decision making in choosing his route and stopovers. He deviated very little from the path of his 2015 migration throughout his 1500 mile journey. Upon his return, his first steps were to visit some familiar areas along the Churchill River. After several days of what was likely rest and recharge, he traveled in nearly a straight line of about 25 miles to the location of what we believe to be his 2015 nesting site. This is an area of extensive lakes and bogs, scattered with spruce and tamarack trees. Here he will begin nest repair or rebuilding while he waits for the thaw of the lakes and the waterfowl to arrive around mid-May. The weather in northern Manitoba today is exceptionally cold, with blizzard conditions, temperatures hovering around zero, and 32 mile per hour winds.

During Harper’s time here at Bernheim, he was seen traveling and interacting with another adult Golden eagle. It is possible that he may have had company on his migration and they may still be together. If so, they would now be working together to prepare the nest for eggs.  Golden eagles usually lay between 1-3 eggs, with an incubation period of about 45 days, meaning the hatchlings would arrive in mid-May to coincide with the return of the migrating waterfowl. Stay tuned as we continue to track Harper’s progress on his northern Manitoba breeding grounds.

Want to learn more about Harper, the golden eagle? Click here to experience his journey.

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