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Where Eagles Soar: New Data Reveals Stabilizing Golden Eagle Populations

Tuesday, October 1, 2013 8:08 am EDT
"Our analysis indicates that golden eagle numbers are relatively stable within the western U.S. Importantly, though, our work does not provide demographic information on the resiliency of the current trends to additional mortality, which is an important area for further research."

A population survey by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service has revealed that Golden Eagle populations have not declined dramatically in the Western United States, but have stabilized. The research, published in the Journal of Wildlife Management, analyzed eagle numbers from 1968 to 2010 across several states.

The study analyzed golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) across four ranges; the Great Basin, Northern Rockies, Southern Rockies & Colorado Plateau, and the Badlands and Prairies. The team estimated the average rate of golden eagle population change across all regions for the period 1968–2010 as 0.40% per year, suggesting a stable population.

Most recently the results indicated golden eagle populations were stable from 2006 to 2010 with an estimated average rate of population change of 0.41%. The team estimate annual golden eagle population size to range from 28,220 in 2007 to 26,490 in 2008.

“Wildlife conservation agencies have long had a need for better information on the population status of golden eagles. We are pleased that our work begins to address this need by providing the first data-driven estimate of golden eagle populations within the western U.S.,” said Dr. Brian Millsap from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “Our analysis indicates that golden eagle numbers are relatively stable within the western U.S. Importantly, though, our work does not provide demographic information on the resiliency of the current trends to additional mortality, which is an important area for further research."

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