Eaglets Fitted with GPS Tracking Devices

10 Jul 2017

Three Arconic eaglets left their nest for a very important job.

All three were fitted with silver ID bands and GPS tracking devices.  Born in March, they each had its own name: Gemini, Apollo, and Mercury.

Their names were historic and came from the US space program. After 4,000 votes were cast over, 25 votes divided the winning names from the others.

The total votes for each set of names included:

Gemini, Apollo, Mercury – 1091 votes

Braveheart, Hunter Scout – 1066 votes

Wilbur, Amelia, Orville – 689 votes

Journey, Nova, Valor – 509 votes

Sheldon, Penny, Leonard – 504 votes

Their GPS tracking devices were solar powered and will help the researchers track the eaglets to see where they go and how fast they fly.

They also measured their feathers and beaks to determine their gender and age.

Bald Eagles usually lay one to three eggs each year. After around 35 days of incubation, the eggs hatch. The eaglets stay in their next for around 10 to 12 weeks before they take their first flight or fledge. Their fledging process is often gradual where they’ll branch, leaving the nest but staying in the tree and then take around a week to fly away from the tree altogether. After calming down and realizing that the flying wasn’t that scary, they return.

For the next couple months, they’ll stay at the nest area and hone their flight skills while begging their parents for food. Then they venture out on their own (males typically first) to unknown areas and wander around for around a year before they return.

The West Virginia University and U.S. Wildlife Service will take the next five years to study the eaglets and learn their migration patterns and habits.

There have already been almost 30 million visitors worldwide tuning into the bald eagle’s developmental stages as they live in today’s eco-system. In the winter and fall, the eagles prepare their nest for the next season. They also use it to eat. Eagles with nests in Iowa’s generally lay their eggs in mid-late February and in mid-late March, they hatch. By early June, the eaglets have grown and are ready to fledge (fly).

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