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Behavioral Change Point Analysis (BCPA) is a tool that analyzes changes in species’ movement and behavior.

From 2012-2017, USGS researchers tracked 54 golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) in the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts using GPS telemetry, modeled their behavior with BCPA, and then linked specific behaviors to characteristics of land cover and topography. Behaviors were grouped into four categories or states. Results showed that behaviors such as perching and low altitude hunting were associated with higher elevations, and steeper, more north-facing terrain. Medium-distance hunting and transiting occurred over gentle and south-facing slopes. This information can be used to assess how habitat loss, especially in connection to urban development and renewable energy sites, may affect golden eagle nesting and foraging selection. Findings can help guide conservation guidelines for this species through a more detailed understanding of how golden eagles use and are affected by change within the landscapes they inhabit.

Sur, M., Woodbridge, B., Esque, T.C., Belthoff, J.R., Bloom, P.H., Fisher, R.N., Longshore, K., Nussear, K.E., Tracey, J.A., Braham, M.A., Katzner, T.E., 2021, Linking behavioral states to landscape features for improved conservation management: Ecology and Evolution, v. 11, no. 12, p. 7905-7916, https://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/70222113.

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