Cooperative Golden Eagle Research Project Back In Flight

Monday, January 13, 2014
Wildlife Manager Keith Thomas releases a three-year-old male Golden Eagle that was trapped on Hatfield Knob in the North Cumberland WMA during February of 2013.  The eagle is being tracked and is currently around Green River Lake near Louisville, Ky.
Wildlife Manager Keith Thomas releases a three-year-old male Golden Eagle that was trapped on Hatfield Knob in the North Cumberland WMA during February of 2013. The eagle is being tracked and is currently around Green River Lake near Louisville, Ky.

The TWRA and multiple partners are working together this winter to continue the ongoing study of the Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) in the southern Appalachian Mountains.  The project, in its third year, has successfully documented the presence and distribution of Eastern Golden Eagles as they spend the winter in the region. 

According to TWRA State Ornithologist, Scott Somershoe, the eastern population is currently estimated at 3-4,000 individuals.  The eagles migrate south from their breeding grounds in Quebec, Labrador, and Ontario from mid-October to mid-December and spend the winter in the southern Appalachians until they depart in March and early April.  It during this time period that biologists take the opportunity to study the eagles at various sites throughout the southeastern region.

The project is monitoring four sights in east Tenn. this year: in Roan Mountain State Park in Carter Co., on Unaka Mountain in Unicoi Co., in the Tackett Creek Area of Claiborne Co., and on Hatfield Knob at the North Cumberland WMA.

Monitoring consists of placing cameras that continuously record sites baited with deer carcasses in small openings of heavily forested areas.  The cameras are checked weekly and when an eagle is observed, a rocket-net is used to capture the animal.  Once trapped, biological data is recorded, a transmitter is attached, and the bird is released.

According to Region 4 Wildlife Surveys Manager Chris Ogle, “The project successfully trapped three Golden Eagles last year, which were outfitted with transmitters and released.”  The transmitters collect data with location information, accuracy, speed, and altitude above sea level every 15 minutes.  Data is then sent through cellular towers each morning, when cellular coverage is available. 

The study has produced some other encouraging results: “We have documented Golden Eagles at 11 of 21 different bait sites over the last two winters, suggesting that that Golden Eagles are likely much more common in than previously known,” said Mr. Somershoe.  “Tracking additional individuals from east, middle, and west Tenn. will provide significant information on the origin of Golden Eagles as well as their winter ranges, migration routes, and habitat use, to effectively inform conservation efforts.”

The TWRA is working on the study alongside the Eastern Golden Eagle Working Group, The Nature Conservancy, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the US Forest Service, West Virginia University, the Ala. Dept. of Conservation and Nat. Resources, the NC Wildlife Resources Commission, and Cellular Tracking Technologies.

More information can be found on the Tennessee Watchable Wildlife website at: http://www.tnwatchablewildlife.org/GoldenEagles.cfm

 


"Tennessee Uncharted" Receives ACI Award As Nation's Top Outdoor Television Series

“Tennessee Uncharted” the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s television program, has been named as the best outdoors television series in the country by the Association for Conservation Information, Inc. (ACI). “Tennessee Uncharted” made its debut in October, 2014. TWRA partners with Knoxville-based Designsensory and production company PopFizz to bring the weekly program to ... (click for more)

New TWRA Bird Conservation Coordinator To Present August Nature At Noontime Program

David Hanni, recently-appointed Bird Conservation coordinator for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, will present the August Nature at Noontime program. The program will be held on Thursday, Aug. 6, from noon-1 p.m. at the TWRA’s Region II Ray Bell Building located in the Ellington Agriculture Complex. Mr. Hanni joined the TWRA from Colorado where he had served as the ... (click for more)

Truck Driver Who Caused Wreck That Killed 6 People At Ooltewah Indicted On 13 Charges

The Chattanooga Police Department has issued a capias for the arrest of Benjamin Brewer, 39, concerning the multiple fatality traffic crash that occurred on I-75 northbound on June 25. Brewer was indicted on Monday on 13 counts.  They include six counts of vehicular homicide by impairment, a B-felony; four counts for reckless aggravated assault, a D-felony; one count for DUI ... (click for more)

$40 Million Traffic Improvement Set To Connect Hamilton Place More Directly With I-75 And Ease Congestion On Shallowford Road

The city, state and CBL & Associates are cooperating on a $40 million plan to make the Hamilton Place section more accessible to Interstate 75. The upcoming project will provide a direct connection for southbound I-75 traffic with Hamilton Place Boulevard. The project will also provide a new connection for those on Hamilton Place Boulevard to enter I-75 northbound. ... (click for more)

Why Is The City Diverting Federal Transportation Funds From Real Need?

The city of Chattanooga and CBL, owner of Hamilton Place Mall, would have the mass of taxpayers believe that improving mall access from the interstate is not impacting us financially.   Namely, CBL has committed to fund the city’s match of $8 million, so they will receive $32 million in Federal Transportation Funds that are allocated annually to local jurisdictions through ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: A Hero Is Coming Home

In late September, a very special funeral will be held in Bearden, Tenn., when 1 st Lt. Alexander “Sandy” Bonnyman Jr., will finally come home to lie in peace with his family. Sandy’s been dead for 72 years now, ever since he was killed in combat on the Tarawa Atoll in the Gilbert Islands on Nov. 22, 1943. He and a number of other Marine heroes were buried back then in a shallow ... (click for more)