Where are Golden Eagles 731 and 733? You might remember that we posted about capturing two Golden Eagles and fitting them with transmitters in January and February – article here: https://www.raptorresource.org/2022/03/22/golden-eagle-trapping-in-the-driftless/ and Golden Eagle information here: https://www.raptorresource.org/learning-tools/golden-eagles/.
May 9, 2022: Map for adult female Golden Eagle 731 and subadult female 733
731 is an adult female. She left her winter range in the Driftless north of La Crosse in late March and headed NNW to Nunavut, well north of any other eagle that we’ve tracked. Golden Eagles that winter in the central part of the United States commonly breed in north central Canada up through Nunavut, so we’re very curious to see where she decides to spend the summer!
Golden Eagle range map. Map generated by eBird.org
I’m fascinated by the differences between Nunavut and the Driftless. A breeding pair of Golden Eagles on the steep slopes of Bathurst inlet in Nunavut might take seals, arctic fox, marmots, arctic and snowshoe hares, ermine, wolverines, ptarmigan, a wide variety of waterfowl, and whale and dolphin carcasses that wash ashore. In the Driftless, that same pair will feed on wild turkeys, pheasants, weasels, cottontail rabbits, red and grey fox, coyote, white-tailed deer, and roadkill and farm carcasses. In each place, the pair will eat different prey, adjust their hunting techniques to different terrain, and face vastly different landscapes – a change that requires intelligence and the ability to learn quickly.
733 is a sub-adult female who is currently up near West English River Provincial Park in western Ontario. I knew that Golden Eagles can fly high and fast, but didn’t really understand what that meant until today. Ryan Schmitz has been providing our map and eagle updates. He wrote: “GOEA 733 has been on the move this last week. Before heading north, she flew from Amery, WI southeast to the Connorsville area and hung out for a day. On May 4, she traveled north 204 miles in about 6 hours and 15 minutes (a rate of 33 mph) past Duluth, MN. At one point she reached an altitude of nearly 5,000 feet! She covered another 91 miles the following day, stopping just short of the Canadian border. She crossed the border on May 6 with a short 15-mile trek northwest to 13 miles northeast of International Falls, MN. On 5/7 she flew NNW 115 miles to 36 miles northeast of Kenora, ON. At one point, she stooped from an elevation of 5254 feet, reaching a max speed of 90mph!”
We’ve also seen D27 and D36 in this area. If she stays, will the three cross paths? Birds of the World tells us that off their breeding territories, Golden Eagles are seen most frequently in open habitats with native vegetation and less frequently in urban, agricultural, and forested areas. We’ll see if 733 summers in the less-common forested area and whether either of the two bald eagles we’re tracking decide to visit this summer.