Long-term Nest Monitoring

Program at a Glance

Focus Species: Golden Eagle
Study Area: West Desert, Utah, USA

About the Program

Monitoring raptor populations is a long game, and we’ve been monitoring Golden Eagle nests in Utah since 1998. Here at HawkWatch International, we try not to put too much emphasis on what happens in any particular year, given the fluctuations that can happen due to a wide variety of conditions like drought, fire, prey populations, and more. Based on migration count and nest data, however, declines in Golden Eagle populations are undeniable. Each nesting season we monitor the survivorship of nestlings through repeated surveys of nests, banding nestlings, and taking general morphological measurements. We have also collected more intensive data on contaminants through blood sampling, measured parasite loads, mapped diet through camera traps, and tracked post-fledge movements through backpack transmitters.

Program Highlights

Years of Monitoring
Nestlings Color Banded
Tracking Units Deployed

Future of the Program

Over the last two decades, this project has expanded and grown in many ways. Through this work, we began two offshoot projects (Eagle Vehicle Strike and Winter Feeding) to mitigate the threats we discovered through this work. Most recently, we have expanded this program through the Ph.D. work of HWI’s Research Associate Dustin Maloney. He is studying multi-stressor impacts on immune function and survival in Golden Eagle nestlings by tracking contaminants, disease, parasites, and diet.

Looking for More Information?

Program Partners

The Worst Nesting Season in 40 years

Recent nesting seasons have yielded the worst survival rate for nesting Golden Eagles in Utah in the last four decades. Help us paint a better picture for eagles in the years to come.

Scroll to Top