Golden Eagle GPSing
Last Thursday Portland and I received a last minute invitation to participate in putting a GPS on a Golden Eagle fledgling, and of course we said YES! We were both extremely excited to join in on such a rare event and grateful to be invited. When we got to the area that the nest was in I was astonished by the immense size of it. It was HUGE!! I was even more surprised by the size of the adult Golden Eagles. We hiked up to the bottom of the ledge that the nest was on. One of the men repelled off of the cliff and into the nest to retrieve the fledgling (the six foot tall man looked tiny in the huge nest). He then put the fledgling in a special backpack and sent him down to us. The entire time that we were doing this the adult eagles were flying above us, and let me tell you that was a scary feeling!
When we got to a safe spot to take the fledgling out we gently sat the bag on the ground and the men put a hood on the eagle. The hood helps to keep the fledgling calm while we work with him. We watched as they put the GPS on the back of the fledgling, and we helped take feather and blood samples. For the eagle only being a fledgling it had some pretty long talons! I definitely would not want to get attacked by one of these birds!
This was an eventful and educational day! It was a lot of fun working with such amazing, skilled, and knowledgeable biologists.