Dramatic eagle photos

Peg DiBenedetto writes:
Recently some local folk were amused to receive an e-mail from us requesting phone calls for the locations of roadkill. We are participating in a Golden eagle study and need bait. (Note: a license is required from DEC to pick up & transport deer carcasses, which Michael has.)

Last fall, I met Tom Salo of the Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society, which led to our participation in the study, which is being conducted by Salo and Todd Katzner of West Virginia University. The study is done by “camera trapping” – setting out carcasses and having a game camera snap periodic photos of the various diners who frequent this free, alfresco restaurant, at an undisclosed location in Delaware County. Every few days we visit the site to resupply carcasses and check the camera.

Eastern Golden eagles breed and summer in northeastern Canada. Most migrate through the eastern seaboard to winter in southern Appalachia, then fly back north again to breed. Although Goldens are not listed as endangered as are the Balds, Goldens are protected. The purpose of the study is to determine over-wintering populations of Golden eagles in the Appalachian plateau. Scientists are also trying to determine if there is a genetic difference between our eastern Goldens and those of the western states. Our site is the most easterly site in the DOAS area, and has yielded some interesting information. Along with a few Bald eagles, Red Tail hawks, ravens, and crows, at least three Golden eagles – adult and immature – make frequent appearances. As well as a repeat 4pm downy woodpecker. Golden eagles are typically more aggressive eaters and rarely tolerate other species at the table. But this site has uniquely shown Goldens and Balds feeding together and with ravens and crows.

We began the project in January and will continue till mid-February, at which time the friendly carcass calls will no longer be needed.