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

Abstract

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.

Keywords

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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