November 10, 2022 Timing and Flight Behavior of Golden Eagles in Arkansas

Rebecca Peak, US Fish & Wildlife Service

The eastern North American population of Golden Eagles is a genetically distinct population that favors ridges, hillsides, and cliffs in forested habitat during winter. These topographic features are also a focus area for wind development because they provide access to wind speeds that optimize energy production. This puts large soaring birds like Golden Eagles at risk from the turbine’s rotating blades. In 2021, the USFWS, in cooperation with the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, National Park Service, USDA Forest Service, and private landowners launched a pilot project to capture and fit GPS transmitters to two Golden Eagles. The purpose is to assist wind energy developers in evaluating environmental risk for projects in these ecoregions. Additionally, these data are part of larger studies to spatially map migration routes and habitat use of eagles between summer and winter sites, analyze levels of lead poisoning, and estimate abundance.

Rebecca Peak grew up in rural Illinois where she started birding at a young age and developed her interest in how human land use practices affect birds and their habitats. Currently, she is a Fish and Wildlife Biologist with USFWS in the Arkansas Ecological Services Field Office where she works with partners to coordinate and facilitate activities pursuant to the Endangered Species Act. Prior to this she worked with USDA Forest Service as a District Wildlife Biologist on the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest where she implemented habitat management activities. She spent most of her career working on Fort Hood Military Installation, first with TNC as an applied scientist, and then with Department of the Army as a natural resources specialist where she implemented a research and monitoring program for the federally endangered Golden-cheeked Warbler.

7PM via Zoom