We describe reproductive characteristics of Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) breeding in Denali National Park, Alaska during an entire snowshoe hare (Lepus americanus) cycle, 1988-1997. Data on nesting eagles were collected at 58 to 72 nesting areas annually using two aerial surveys. Surveys were conducted during the incubation period to determine occupancy and nesting activities and late in the nestling period to count nestlings and determine nesting success. Annual occupancy rates of nesting areas did not vary significantly, whereas laying rates, success rates, and mean brood size varied significantly over the study period. Fledgling production for the study population varied sevenfold during the ten-year period. Laying rates, mean brood size, and overall population productivity were significantly correlated with abundance of cyclic snowshoe hare and Willow Ptarmigan (Lagopus lagopus) populations. Reproductive rates of Golden Eagles in Denali were similar to those of Golden Eagles from other high latitude study areas in North America, but lower than for Golden Eagles from temperate zone study areas in North America.
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Reproductive characteristics of migratory golden eagles in Denali National Park, Alaska