We analyzed the influence of 17 weather factors on migrating Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) near the Continental Divide in Glacier National Park, Montana, U.S.A. Local weather measurements were recorded at automated stations on the flanks of two peaks within the migration path. During a total of 506 hr of observation, the yearly number of Golden Eagles in autumn counts (1994-96) averaged 1973; spring counts (1995 and 1996) averaged 605 eagles. Mean passage rates (eagles/hr) were 16.5 in autumn and 8.2 in spring. Maximum rates were 137 in autumn and 67 in spring. Using generalized linear modeling, we tested for the effects of weather factors on the number of eagles counted. In the autumn model, the number of eagles increased with increasing air temperature, rising barometric pressure, decreasing relative humidity, and interactions among those factors. In the spring model, the number of eagles increased with increasing wind speed, barometric pressure, and the interaction between these factors. Our data suggest that a complex interaction among weather factors influenced the number of eagles passing on a given day. We hypothesize that in complex landscapes with high topographic relief, such as Glacier National Park, numerous weather factors produce different daily combinations to which migrating eagles respond opportunistically. ?? 2001 The Raptor Research Foundation, Inc.
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The influence of weather on Golden Eagle migration in northwestern Montana