Eagle Research Project on the Forbes State Forest
Did you know that some Golden Eagles spent their
winters in the mountains of Pennsylvania? Dr. Todd Katzner,
from the U.S. Geological Survey, is leading research on the
‘eastern’ Golden Eagle. The eastern population of Golden Eagles
nests in extreme northeastern Canada and spends winters in the
high altitudes of the Appalachian Mountains. In 2012,
Forbes State Forest decided to participate in this research
to help find out more about this elusive bird of prey.
There is little known about the eastern Golden
Eagle population. Dr. Katzner is researching their population,
migration patterns, winter range, impacts from wind turbines,
DNA characteristics, and overall health. Every winter, we
deploy a couple trail cameras, just like the ones used to
pattern deer for hunting, and search for road-killed deer to use
as bait at the camera sites under our PA Game Commission
permit. We place the road-killed deer in openings high atop
mountains in the Forbes State Forest away from human activity in
hopes of attracting hungry Golden Eagles. We fix the trail
cameras on the piles of dead deer, sit back, and wait….…...
We check the sites every 3-5 days and download
the pictures taken at the sites. It does not take long for
hungry, curious creatures to start visiting the bait sites. We
capture pictures of coyotes, lots and lots of ravens, bobcats,
red-tailed hawks, a barred owl, gray fox, raccoons, bald eagles,
and yes, golden eagles! We have several golden eagles coming
regularly to the bait sites each winter posing for really cool
pictures. Golden Eagles are magnificent birds with a commanding
presence. We are excited to be part of this research project to
further the conservation of these awesome eagles.
Cory M. Wentzel
Forest Assistant Manager
Forbes State Forest
Bureau of Forestry
Department of Conservation and Natural Resources
Commonwealth of PA
About the Camera System
The camera system consists
PixController, Inc. Raptor Cellular camera mounted
on a portable stand with an external battery and solar
panel. When the cameras motion sensor is triggered a
photo will be taken and transmitted in real-time to this
website. This will give the project researchers a better
understanding of what species are active at the site,
and give them site conditions in real-time.
The most recent 100 photos will be displayed in a slide
show format with about a 3-second delay between each
photo. The most recent photo will be shown first.
The system can also be triggered remotely to capture
photos or get system information such as battery status,
site temperature, and cellular signal level.
We expect the system to function without any human
interaction for the duration of the project.