Ecosystem processes, landcover, climate, and human settlement shape dynamic distributions for golden eagle across the western US.

Animal Conservation
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Abstract

Species-environment relationships for highly mobile species outside of the breeding season are often highly dynamic in response to the collective effects of ever-changing climatic conditions, food resources, and anthropogenic disturbance. Capturing dynamic space-use patterns in a model-based framework is critical as model inference often drives place-based conservation planning. We applied dynamic occupancy models to broad-scale golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) survey data collected annually from 2006-2012 during the late summer post-fledging period in the western US. We defined survey sites as 10km transect segments with a 1km buffer on either transect side (n=3540). Derived estimates of occupancy were low (4.4% - 7.9%) and turnover rates - the probability that occupied sites were newly occupied - were high (88%-94%), demonstrating that annual transiency in occupancy dominates late summer behavior for golden eagles. Despite low philopatry during late summer, variation in golden eagle occupancy could be explained by a suite of landcover and annual-varying covariates including gross primary productivity, drought severity, and human disturbance. Our summary of 13 years of predicted occupancy by golden eagles across the western United States identified areas that are consistently used and that may contribute significantly to golden eagle conservation. Restricting development and targeting mitigation efforts in these areas offers practitioners a framework for conservation prioritization.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Ecosystem processes, landcover, climate, and human settlement shape dynamic distributions for golden eagle across the western US.
Series title Animal Conservation
DOI 10.1111/acv.12511
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher Zoological Society of London
Contributing office(s) Fort Collins Science Center
Description 12 p.
Country United States
State Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming