Just a quick update on our adult female Golden Eagle "Elaine" instrumented with a satellite transmitter on 22 Oct. 2010. It appears Elaine (named after long time RVRI supporter) is headed for the Brooks Range in Alaska! To us, her story is really remarkable and one that has kept us on edge since the day we outfitted her with the satellite transmitters. Vince caught her after she ripped through a group of ravens that had been causing quite the ruckus around our lure. Often the presence of ravens can thwart an eagles attempt to reach the lure, but not Elaine. In fact, she was probably drawn in by the raven commotion. This 12.5 pound female was quite the handful to get the transmitter on. After about an hour and a few close calls (for us!) she was released back to the wild.
For the record, she had a blood-lead level of 45 micrograms per deciliter (qualifingas a sub-clinical exposure). Roughly 50% of the
eagles we get in hand have elevated blood-lead levels. Anyway, after she was instrumented, she stayed in the Lincoln area for about ten days. We thought we may have a local bird, which clearly would have been disappointing. Finally she headed out, moving south down along the Big Belt mountains, over towards Livingston, MT and settled in Paradise Valley for the winter. When she started heading north again in March we wondered if she would stop once she got to Lincoln; she didn't. Elaine is now on her summer range, which is further north than any of our other satellite tracked eagles. If all goes well with Elaine and the transmitter, we will be able to follow her flight back south this fall.
FYI: Elaine's pack style harness and battery powered transmitter is designed to break away cleanly, with Teflon straps separating at the breast patch, around this time next year.
To see Elaine's most current locations check her progress at www.seaturtle.org