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A new study describes prospecting and nomadism in golden eagles. When combined with existing knowledge on golden eagle migration and nesting, the results provide a more complete picture of golden eagle movements.

Management of golden eagles largely focuses on birds that make predictable, routine movements like residency and migration. For example, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service generally requires renewable energy developers to identify areas important to nesting and migratory eagles, but often overlooks non-routine movements like prospecting and nomadism that are more difficult to study. A team of scientists tracked over 500 golden eagles across a ten-year period and found that 160 of the eagles engaged in non-routine, long-distance movements. The team documented clear spatial, temporal, and demographic correlates of these movements at smaller, local scales but found less evidence of such correlates at larger, regional scales. This study is the first to describe prospecting and nomadism by golden eagles. When combined with existing knowledge on migratory routes and nesting sites, this study provides a more complete picture of golden eagle movements that could be used to reduce conflicts with future wind and solar energy projects.  

Poessel, S.A., Woodbridge, B., Smith, B.W., Murphy, R.K., Bedrosian, B.E., Bell, D.A., Bittner, D., Bloom, P.H., Crandall, R.H., Domenech, R., Fisher, R.N., Haggerty, P.K., Slater, S.J., Tracey, J.A., Watson, J.W., and Katzner, T.E., 2022, Interpreting long-distance movements of non-migratory golden eagles- prospecting and nomadism?: Ecosphere, v. 13, no. 6, e4072,

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