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Winter distribution of golden eagles in the Eastern USA

December 27, 2023

Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) have a Holarctic distribution, but some details of that overall distribution are poorly understood, including parts of the range in eastern North America. Recent studies in the region suggest that Golden Eagles may be more widely distributed than previously recognized. For species specific conservation efforts to be effective, an understanding of the distribution of the species is essential. Thus, the goal of this study was to map the winter distribution of Golden Eagles in the eastern half of the USA. To accomplish this, we reviewed and compiled 11,981 Golden Eagle records from eight data sources, including literature and ornithology records, community science data, survey data, and telemetry data. We found that Golden Eagles were observed in winter in each of the 31 states that lie completely east of the 100th meridian and in 1244 of the 2045 counties (61%) in those states. The proportion of counties with records varied by physiographic province, with higher proportions in physiographic provinces with more rugged terrain and greater forest cover. Our study shows that Golden Eagles are more widely distributed during winter in eastern USA states than was previously recognized. This work provides an important foundation for future management and research at a time when threats to this species are expanding rapidly on the landscape.

Publication Year 2023
Title Winter distribution of golden eagles in the Eastern USA
DOI 10.3356/JRR-23-00012
Authors Tricia Miller, Michael Lanzone, Melissa Braham, Adam Duerr, Jeff Cooper, Scott Somershoe, David Hanni, Eric C. Soehren, Carrie Threadgill, Mercedes Maddox, Jonathan Stober, Christine A. Kelly, Tom Salo, Andrew Berry, Mark S. Martell, Scott Mehus, Brian Dirks, Robert Sargent, Todd E. Katzner
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Raptor Research
Index ID 70251309
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center