European Journal of Wildlife Research

, Volume 62, Issue 4, pp 377–393 | Cite as

Age- and season-specific variation in local and long-distance movement behavior of golden eagles

  • Sharon A. Poessel
  • Peter H. Bloom
  • Melissa A. Braham
  • Todd E. Katzner
Original Article


Animal movements can determine the population dynamics of wildlife. We used telemetry data to provide insight into the causes and consequences of local and long-distance movements of multiple age classes of conservation-reliant golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) in the foothills and mountains near Tehachapi, California. We estimated size and habitat-related correlates of 324 monthly 95 % home ranges and 317 monthly 50 % core areas for 25 birds moving locally over 2.5 years. We also calculated daily, hourly, and total distances traveled for the five of these birds that engaged in long-distance movements. Mean (±SD) monthly home-range size was 253.6 ± 429.4 km2 and core-area size was 26.4 ± 49.7 km2. Consistent with expectations, space used by pre-adults increased with age and was season-dependent but, unexpectedly, was not sex-dependent. For all ages and sexes, home ranges and core areas were dominated by both forest & woodland and shrubland & grassland habitat types. When moving long distances, eagles traveled up to 1588.4 km (1-way) in a season at highly variable speeds (63.7 ± 69.0 km/day and 5.2 ± 10.4 km/h) that were dependent on time of day. Patterns of long-distance movements by eagles were determined by age, yet these movements had characteristics of more than one previously described movement category (migration, dispersal, etc.). Our results provide a context for differentiating among types of movement behaviors and their population-level consequences and, thus, have implications for management and conservation of golden eagle populations.


Aquila chrysaetos California Connectivity Exploratory movements Migration Movement ecology 

Supplementary material

10344_2016_1010_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (302 kb)
ESM 1(XLSX 302 kb)
10344_2016_1010_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (620 kb)
ESM 2(PDF 620 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg (outside the USA) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sharon A. Poessel
    • 1
  • Peter H. Bloom
    • 2
  • Melissa A. Braham
    • 3
  • Todd E. Katzner
    • 1
  1. 1.U.S. Geological Survey, Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science CenterBoiseUSA
  2. 2.Western Foundation of Vertebrate ZoologyCamarilloUSA
  3. 3.Division of Forestry and Natural ResourcesWest Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA

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