Habitat change and growing road networks have altered food webs, making prey scarce in many areas. This is especially true each winter when Golden and Bald Eagles scavenge on the carcasses of road-killed deer, jackrabbits, and other animals. But these easy meals are not without a price. HWI’s transmitter studies alerted us that many scavenging eagles are struck by moving cars while feasting. Focusing on “hot spots” with high eagle density and areas where many strikes have been reported, we have studied this threat by measuring how many animals are killed on the road and placing cameras on carcasses to document the presence of eagles and other scavengers. We are also moving carcasses farther away from the road to increase eagle use while decreasing flushing from vehicles: a win-win for eagles!
Eagle-vehicle interactions captured
Future of the Program
After finding great conservation success in relocating carcasses, we are working towards making our Eagle Vehicle Strike program an official mitigation method to counteract the Golden Eagles killed through industry, such as electrocutions and wind turbine collisions. Power pole retrofitting is the only currently accepted mitigation option available to the wind industry, but this approach can be expensive and difficult to implement. We hope that the model we have created through this program will lead to the widespread adoption of carcass relocation as a method to offset human-caused mortality of eagles.
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Here’s How You Can Help
Drive Slow: Make sure you follow posted speed limits and keep an eye out for wildlife as you are driving. Report Roadkill: If you spot roadkill, report it to your local Department of Transportation. If you live in Utah, you can report roadkill via the app made by UDOT and UDWR here. Donate: You can play a role in eagle conservation. Click here to make your tax-deductible gift today.
Read More in Our Publications, Reports, and Comments
Lonsdorf, E., Gerber, J., Ray, D., Slater, S., and Allison, T. 2023. Assessing carcass relocation for offsetting golden eagle mortality at wind energy facilities. Journal of Wildlife Management e22478. Read More.
Slater, S., Maloney, D., and Taylor, J. 2022. Golden eagle use of winter roadkill and response to vehicles in the western United States. The Wilderness Society. Read More.