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Golden eagle records from the Midwinter Bald Eagle Survey: information for wind energy management and planning

March 29, 2013

The purpose of this Data Series report is to provide the occasions, locations, and counts when golden eagles were recorded during the annual Midwinter Bald Eagle Surveys. Golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) are protected by Federal statutes including the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act (BGEPA) (16 USC 668-668c) and the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) (16 USC 703-12). The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) manages golden eagles with the goal of maintaining stable or increasing breeding populations (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2009). Development for the generation of electricity from wind turbines is occurring in much of the range of the golden eagle in the western United States. Development could threaten population stability because golden eagles might be disturbed by construction and operation of facilities and they are vulnerable to mortality from collisions with wind turbines (Smallwood and Thelander, 2008). Therefore, the Service has proposed a process by which wind energy developers can collect information that could lead to Eagle Conservation Plans (ECP), mitigation, and permitting that allow for golden eagle management in areas of wind energy development (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2011). The Service recommends that ECP be developed in stages, and the first stage is to learn if golden eagles occur at the landscape level where potential wind facilities might be located. Information about where eagles occur can be obtained from technical literature, agency files, and other sources of information including on-line biological databases. The broad North American distribution of golden eagles is known, but there is a paucity of readily available information about intermediate geographic scales and site-specific scales, especially during the winter season (Kochert and others, 2002).

Publication Year 2013
Title Golden eagle records from the Midwinter Bald Eagle Survey: information for wind energy management and planning
DOI 10.3133/ds753
Authors Wade Eakle, Patti Haggerty, Mark Fuller, Susan L. Phillips
Publication Type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Series Title Data Series
Series Number 753
Index ID ds753
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center