Blueberry Island Eagle Update

NH Audubon senior biologist Chris Martin sent us this update on the progress of our eagle chicks, along with one other local eagle chick. Our chicks are 79604 and 79606.

click for full-sized image

Here's an update through January 2011 on the status and movements of three hatch-year bald eagles from the Merrimack River watershed that were equipped with satellite transmitters back in June 2010.

Recall that one of the three juvenile eagles (79604) was killed in early November 2010 at about 6.5 months old, when she was struck by a vehicle while feeding on a road-killed raccoon carcass near Pepacton Reservoir in southeastern New York State. The first map at right shows 79604's travels prior to her death. (Click on the map for the full-size image.)

The two surviving hatch-year eagles (79606 and 79607) appeared to have settled into two separate geographic areas; one in southeastern Connecticut, and the other in northern New Jersey. However, Argos satellites stopped receiving signal from 79606 (a female from Blueberry Island in Moultonborough, and sibling of the bird discussed above) after the late December transmissions. Most likely cause for this would be battery failure or other transmitter malfunction. The bird is probably still alive, but is no longer sending a signal. If the bird had died, the transmitter would most likely have continued to send signals from a constant location. Same situation would occur if the transmitter harness had failed and the transmitter had fallen off. We will keep our fingers crossed to see if the signal returns, but after a month without signal that does not appear likely. The second map at right shows 79606's travels prior to loss of signal. (Click on the map for the full-size image.)

Our last remaining functional transmitter is carried by 79607, a male eagle raised at Merrymeeting Marsh in New Durham, NH. This bird appears to have settled for the winter on rivers and ponds located in southeastern Connecticut. He was on the tidal Thames River just downstream of Norwich, CT on 1/4/2011, and on a tributary, the Shetucket River, just upstream of Norwich, CT on both 1/14 and 1/24/2011.

In addition to the static .jpg images shown here, NH Audubon's GIS Specialist Vanessa Jones has created PowerPoint files for each bird that shows movements sequentially. These files are available upon request, but CAUTION, they are large (2.4 to 5.8 MB each), and require PowerPoint software to view, so consider that before requesting.

Our next update will probably be distributed in early March. Thanks for your continued interest!

This project is made possible through a grant from the Merrimack River Bald Eagle Fund administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. NH Audubon's Conservation Department is conducting this work under supervision of the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the N.H. Fish & Game Department.