Golden Eagle, Surveys and Telemetry
The Golden Eagle, Aquila chrysaetos, is one of the most widely distributed eagles in North America.
This species migrates larges distances between summer and winter grounds and are typically only present in Tennessee during the winter. However, there are some Golden Eagles in Tennessee year round and these birds are likely decedents of a hacking program implemented by TWRA between 1995 and 2006.
Golden Eagles migrate to Tennessee from Canada during the winter, spending much of this time in large tracts of forests. They have been observed feeding on carrion in fields and along roads.
It was once thought migrating Golden Eagles were only located in eastern Tennessee, but recent surveys indicate high densities of birds in southern Tennessee along the Alabama state line.
Wildlife Diversity personnel have established multiple survey sites across middle Tennessee to document wintering Golden Eagles. Trail cameras are used to take photographs throughout the day at each site.
Once Golden Eagles begin frequenting the site, all efforts are made to capture the animals. Once captured, the birds are tested for lead poisoning and a large transmitter is attached to their back. This transmitter records location data for 2-3 years. Migration data has become extremely important in identifying routes of migration and wintering areas within the state.