Bald Eagle populations in Kansas have grown considerably since 1989 when the first nest in Kansas was reported. As of 2018, there were 137 nesting pairs in the state. Interactions between eagles and wind energy development are a concern for eagle conservation and wind energy operations and regulatory compliance. However, due to a lack of scientific information concerning flight behavior of Bald Eagles, sound management recommendations are challenging to make or implement. Risk from behavioral changes by or mortality of eagles in response to turbines is especially poorly understood because there has been little research on this problem for Bald Eagles in the Great Plains. The purpose of this project is to understand movements by young Bald Eagles to better inform siting of wind energy in Kansas.
This is a three-year project beginning in 2020 with funding support from the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism. Our primary method for studying Bald Eagles is telemetry. We will tag 10 nestling Bald Eagles with light-weight GPS telemetry units that will track their movements at intervals as frequent as 4 seconds. The units will provide information on location, flight speed, flight altitude and direction, activity as measured by an accelerometer, and other diagnostic information. This project is conducted in collaboration with scientists at the US Geological Survey and biologists at the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks, and Tourism.
Maps of movements of Bald Eagles tagged in Kansas. Click for full size.