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

European Journal of Wildlife Research
By: , and 



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.


Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Age- and season-specific variation in local and long-distance movement behavior of golden eagles
Series title European Journal of Wildlife Research
DOI 10.1007/s10344-016-1010-4
Volume 62
Issue 4
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center
Description 17 p.
First page 377
Last page 393
Country United States
State California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Wyoming
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
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