The research team recently completed their fifth season of fall raptor migration monitoring in the Big Belt Mountains of Montana in collaboration with the Raptor View Research Institute. This project is focused on monitoring Golden Eagles during the fall migration period as part of a long-term effort to identify their key migration corridors to the south and wintering habitats across much of the western US. The month-long monitoring effort consists of counting all raptors that are observed passing by the migration station. It also includes banding individuals with USGS bands as well as taking morphometric measurements on all raptors that are captured. This year the research team banded 111 Golden Eagles with unique color band combinations in addition to banding 97 other raptors of 9 different species. Sharp-shinned Hawk (46), Red-tailed Hawk (18), Cooper’s Hawk (15) and Northern Goshawk (7) were the most common species captured and banded in addition to Golden Eagles. The crew is still calculating the total number of raptors that were observed at the station this year, but the biggest day for Golden Eagles included counting over 160 individuals passing by the ridge on a single day during their fall migration!
Check out the video below to watch this year’s migration of Golden Eagles that we outfitted with GPS transmitters in years past and are currently reporting location data.