Golden Eagles – Eastern North America


We began studying the eastern North American population of golden eagles in 2005 to understand their ecology and movement behavior in relation to wind energy development in the Appalachian Mountains.

This project is a large collaborative project of the members of the Eastern Golden Eagle Working Group, of which Trish Miller is a founding member.

Research Methods

The study was initiated in Pennsylvania, where we trapped our first adult eagle on Bald Eagle ridge near State College in November 2005. We trapped and began tracking eagles with GPS satellite telemetry in November 2006. By 2008, we had begun tracking eagles GSM-GPS telemetry. Since 2006, we have telemetered 100 eagles in 12 Eastern states.

Specific Studies

Interactions with renewable energy – Miller et al. 2014

This study examined the intersection between migrating Golden Eagles and wind turbines in three regions of the Appalachian Mountains in Pennsylvania. During migration, Golden Eagles and other birds concentrate movements along the ridges of the region. These same ridges are where wind energy development occurs. To better understand the potential consequences to Golden Eagles from wind energy, we created maps showing where eagles were likely to fly at low altitudes during spring migration and where wind energy was likely to be developed. We then overlaid these maps to show where eagles may be most at risk from wind energy, where we considered risk to be both direct (i.e., risk of mortality or injury from collision) and indirect (e.g., risk of habitat loss, avoidance, etc. from habitat modification)


Stable isotope, leap frog


We studied migratory movements of Golden Eagles to better understand the influence of weather, topography, and experience on flight behavior. Understanding the mechanisms that influence behavior are important for conserving eagles in the face of wind energy and other obstructions to flight.

  • Miller et al. 2015 limitations and mechanisms…
  • Duerr et al. 2012 Testing and emerging…
  • Duerr et al. 2015 Flight responses…
  • Lanzone et al. 2012 Flight responses by a migratory….
  • Katzner et al. 2012 Topography…
  • Katzner et al. 2015 Use of multiple…
  • Rus et al. 2017 Counterintuitive roles…
  • Miller 2012 – Dissertation
  • Bohrer et al. 2012
  • Brown et al.
  • Summer and Winter
  • Miller 2012 – Dissertation

Habitat Use

  • Airspace
  • Roost-perch

Publications, Presentations, and Reports

Population status

  • Katzner, T., B.W. Smith, T. A. Miller, D. Brandes, J. Cooper, M. Lanzone, D. Brauning, C. Farmer, S. Harding, D. Kramar, C. Koppie, C. Maisonneuve, M. Martell, E.K. Mojica, C. Todd, J.A. Tremblay, M. Wheeler, D.F. Brinker, T.E. Chubbs, R. Gubler, K. O’Malley, S. Mehus, B. Porter, R.P. Brooks, B.D. Watts & K.L. Bildstein. 2012. Status, biology and conservation priorities for North America’s eastern Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) population. The Auk. 129(1): 168-176.

Wind Energy

  • Miller, T.A., R.P. Brooks, M.J. Lanzone, D. Brandes, J. Cooper, K. O’Malley, C. Maisonneuve, J.A. Tremblay,  A. Duerr, and T.K. Katzner. 2014. Assessing risk to birds from industrial wind energy development via paired resource selection models. Conservation Biology. 28(3):745-755. 
  • Brandes, D., T.A. Miller, and T.E. Katzner. 2010. Emerging issues: Conservation challenges: Wind power mortality. In Avian Ecology and Conservation: A Pennsylvania Focus with National Implications. Ed. S.K. Majumdar. Pennsylvania Academy of Science. Pennsylvania, USA.


  • Pirotta, E., T.E. Katzner, T.A. Miller, A.E. Duerr, M.A. Braham, and L. New. 2018. State-space modelling of the three-dimensional behavior of a soaring bird provides new insights to migratory flight. Functional Ecology. 32(9):2205-2215. DOI:10.1111/1365-2435.13180.
  • Rus, A., A.E. Duerr, T.A. Miller, J. Belthoff, and T.E. Katzner. 2017. Counterintuitive roles of experience and weather on migratory performance. The Auk. 134:485-497. DOI:10.1642/AUK-16-147.1
  • Brown, J.L., B. Bedrosian, D.A. Bell, M.A. Braham, J. Cooper, R.H. Crandall, J. DiDonato, R. Domenech, A.E. Duerr, T.E. Katzner, M.J. Lanzone, D.W. LaPlante, C.L. McIntyre, T.A. Miller, R.K. Murphy, J.P. Smith, B.W. Smith, J.W. Watson, and B. Woodbridge. 2017. Patterns of spatial distribution of Golden Eagles across North America: how do they fit into existing landscape-scale mapping systems? Journal of Raptor Research. 51(3):197-215. DOI: 10.3356/JRR-16-72.1
  • Miller, T.A., R.P. Brooks, M.J. Lanzone, D. Brandes, J. Cooper, K. O’Malley, C. Maisonneuve, J.A. Tremblay, J. Wilhelm, A. Duerr, and T.E. Katzner. 2016. Limitations and mechanisms influencing migratory performance of soaring birds. Ibis. 158(1): 116-134. DOI: 10.1111/ibi.12331
  • Katzner, T.E., P. Turk, A. Duerr, T.A. Miller, M.J. Lanzone, J. Cooper, D. Brandes, J. Tremblay, and J. Lemaitre. 2015. Use of multiple modes of flight subsidy by a soaring terrestrial bird, the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), when on migration. Journal of the Royal Society Interface. 12(112).
  • Duerr, A.E., T.A. Miller, M. Lanzone, D. Brandes, J. Cooper, K. O’Malley, C. Maisonneuve, J.A. Tremblay, T.E. Katzner. 2015. Flight response of slope-soaring birds to seasonal variation in thermal generation. Functional Ecology. 29:779-790. doi: 10.1111/1365-2435.12381.
  • Katzner, T.E., D. Brandes, T.A. Miller, M.J. Lanzone, C. Maisonneuve, J.A. Tremblay, R.Mulvihill, G. Merovich. 2012. Topography drives migratory flight altitude of golden eagles: implications for on-shore wind energy development. Journal of Applied Ecology. 49(5):1178-1186.
  • Lanzone, M.J., T.A. Miller, P. Turk, C. Halverson, C. Maisonneuve, J.A. Tremblay, J. Cooper, K. O’Malley, R.P. Brooks, T.E. Katzner. 2012. Flight responses by a migratory soaring raptor to changing meteorological conditions. Biology Letters. 8(5):710-713.
  • Duerr, A.E., T.A. Miller, M. Lanzone, D. Brandes, J. Cooper, K. O’Malley, C. Maisonneuve, J.A. Tremblay, T.E. Katzner. 2012. Testing an Emerging Paradigm in Migration Ecology Shows Surprising Differences in Efficiency between Flight Modes. PLoS ONE 7: e35548.
  • Bohrer, G., D. Brandes, J.T. Mandel, K.L. Bildstein, T.A. Miller, M. Lanzone, T. Katzner, C. Maisonneuve, and J.A. Tremblay. 2012. Estimating Updraft Velocity Components over Large Spatial Scales: Contrasting Migration Strategies of Golden Eagles and Turkey Vultures. Ecology Letters. 15(2): 96-103.
  • Miller, T.A., D. Brandes, M. J. Lanzone, D. Ombalski, C. Maisonneuve, and T.E. Katzner. 2010. Golden Eagle Migration and winter behavior in Pennsylvania. In Avian Ecology and Conservation: A Pennsylvania Focus with National Implications. Ed. S.K. Majumdar. Pennsylvania Academy of Science. Pennsylvania, USA.


  • Miller, T.A., R.P. Brooks, M.J. Lanzone, D. Brandes, J. Cooper, K. O’Malley, J. Wilhelm, A. Duerr, and T.E. Katzner. 2017. Summer and winter space use and home range characteristics of Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) in eastern North America. The Condor. 119(4):697-719. DOI: 10.1650/CONDOR-16-154.1
  • Katzner, T.E., T.A. Miller, J. Rodgrigue, and S. Shaffer. 2015. A most dangerous game: death and injury to birds from porcupine quills. Wilson Journal of Ornithology. 127:102-108.

Stable Isotopes

  • Nelson, D., M. Braham, T.A. Miller, A.E. Duerr, J. Cooper, M.J. Lanzone, T.E. Katzner. 2015. Stable hydrogen isotopes identify leapfrog migration, degree of connectivity and summer distribution of Golden Eagles in eastern North America. The Condor. 117(3):414-429.


  • Duerr, A.E., M.E. Braham, T.A. Miller, J.L. Cooper, J.T. Anderson, and T.E. Katzner. 2019. Roost- and perch-site selection by Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) in eastern North America. Wilson Journal of Ornitholgy 313:310-328. DOI: 10.1676/18-38


Bob Sargent & Nathan Klaus, Georgia Department of Natural Resources
Chris Kelly & Joe Tomcho, North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission
Dave Brandes, Lafayette College
Dave Nelson, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
Eric Soehren, Carrie Threadgill, Mercedes Bartkovich, Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
Jeff Cooper, Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources
Jonathan Stober, Talladega National Forest
Kieran O’Malley, West Virginia Division of Natural Resources
Mike Lanzone, Cellular Tracking Technologies
Scott Somershoe & David Hanni, Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency
Todd Katzner, United States Geological Survey
Tom Salo, Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society


Allegheny Plateau Audubon Society
B. Dale Miller & Family
Buchon Family
Devil’s Backbone Hunt Club, GA
Forbes, Tuscarora, & Elk State Forests, Pennsylvania
Marcia & Bruce Bonta & Family
Monongahela National Forest
Randy Flament & Family
Save Our Allegheny Ridges
Steve VanEerden & Tanya Meyer
Tom & Sally Dick
Tom & Janet Kuehl
Tussey Mountain Spring Hawkwatch
Virginia Society of Ornithology
Wendy & Ron Perrone, Three Rivers Avian Center
West Virginia State Parks