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

 



New State Record Blue Catfish Beats Previous By More Than 12 Pounds

A day of fishing is good. A day you catch a new state record – and beat the old one by more than 12 pounds – is great! Richard Barrett is the new state record holder for the blue catfish. His catch, weighing 93 lb, 0 oz, beat the previous 2010 record of 80 pounds, 4 ounces, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division.   Mr. ... (click for more)

Master Gardeners Of Hamilton County Offer Free Gardening Classes

The Master Gardeners of Hamilton County (MGHC), in association with the University of Tennessee Extension, extend their outreach with a series of Third Saturday Free Gardening Classes.  On Oct. 21, from 10 a.m.-noon, master gardener Bertha Livingston leads “Children in the Garden,” a workshop for adult/child partners.  MGHC classes take place at the UT Extension, ... (click for more)

Shaw Industries To Invest $42 Million At Decatur, Tn., Plant

Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe and Shaw Industries Group, Inc. officials announced Friday that the floor products manufacturer will invest $42 million to upgrade its yarn facility in Decatur. Shaw plans create 75 new jobs in Meigs County as part of the investment. “I’d like to thank Shaw for its continued ... (click for more)

$125 Million County School Building Plan Includes Shifting CSLA To Tyner Middle; Combining Tyner High/Middle; New Harrison Elementary, New East Hamilton Middle

Hamilton County School officials on Thursday unveiled a $125 million building plan that includes moving the Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts to the current Tyner Middle School, which will undergo a major renovation. Tyner Middle will move across the street into Tyner High School. Both Tyner buildings have been under-utilized for a number of years. There will also be ... (click for more)

Managed Hunting Is Necessary In Maintaining A Stable Deer Population - And Response

I enjoy seeing the whitetail deer that we have in so many areas here in East Tennessee, but here in Hamilton County we have been approaching the maximum habitat sustainability in some places including the Enterprise South area. I make this statement due to the fact that I have seen up to 20 deer driving around in Hixson in one evening during the summer. I believe that TWRA is doing ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: At Last! New Schools

In this me-me-me-only-me world of today, we-we-we-finally got a thrilling $125 million facility plan for the Hamilton County Department of Education on Thursday night. The School Board unanimously approved a well-thought-out “first Band-Aid” that will provide a new elementary school in Harrison, middle schools in East Hamilton and Howard, and a quite-satisfactory answer to move ... (click for more)