What are Golden Eagles in Arizona eating?

Salisbury, New Hampshire
Open Access
Raised of $1,600 Goal
Ended on 1/09/14
Campaign Ended
  • $280
  • 18%
  • Finished
    on 1/09/14

About This Project

Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) in Arizona are largely unstudied. Beginning in 2011 the Arizona Game & Fish Department surveyed the state to document active nesting pairs. In 2013, a study examining Golden Eagle diet began. The results of these studies will be the one of very few documented for Arizona's Golden Eagles. This is truly pioneering work. The Golden Eagles in the Southwest are suspected to be in decline; therefore, these studies are essential to their survival. We only have two eagle species in this country and we almost lost one; we cannot lose this one.

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What is the context of this research?

Question: What is the diet of nesting Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) in Northern Arizona?

Objectives and Goals: This project is a portion of a larger study pertaining to Golden Eagle ecology in Arizona. This study is in collaboration with the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) and their occupancy surveys. My objectives are to collect prey remains and regurgitated casting material from active nesting pairs. I will identify (at least to genus) and rank prey species among active nesting pairs. In addition, I will calculate biomass for each species and compare biomass composition among nests. My goals are to determine where Golden Eagles are possibly foraging for prey utilizing the examined landscape characteristics from my dissertation and a priori behavioral ecology of Golden Eagles. In addition, I plan to document the distance traveled from their nests to potential prey habitat. For example, I plan to calculate distance between nest sites and closest documented prairie dog (Cynomys spp.) colony.

What is the significance of this project?

The status of the Golden Eagle population throughout North America is unclear and their population is believed to be declining especially in the southwest regions. Studies that include Golden Eagles' diet as well as where they are obtaining their prey are needed. A pair of nesting Golden Eagles requires large ranges and land cover that not only provides foraging success for them but cover for the prey. Golden Eagle conservation indicates the need to protect sizeable tract of land in order to support their prey base. Golden Eagles can act as an umbrella species by conserving their habitat, in turn; this will protect all flora and fauna within their territories. There is an increase in wind power proposals and the quantified data in the study will help AZGFD to make better conservation action and decisions in granting permission for wind power developments.

What are the goals of the project?

All the funds will be used to support fieldwork during data (prey remains) collection. Golden Eagles in Arizona nest in extremely remote areas, therefore, a high clearance vehicle and camping are required. The funds provided will be used to rent a high clearance vehicle and fuel. In addition to transportation costs, the funds will cover expenses associated with primitive camping such as food, haul in water and supplies. Finally, the funds will be used for any needed research permits required by the State of Arizona or US Fish and Wildlife Service.


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I need funding to support my time in the field. Without this funding I cannot reach Golden Eagle nests to collect prey remains. These eagles nest in extremely remote areas and getting there involves day long drives over very rough terrain and camping in isolated environments.

Meet the Team

Michele Losee
Michele Losee
PhD Student


BS - Biology -Texas Christian University MS - Environmental Policy and Management - American Military University PhD Student - Ornithology - Antioch University New England
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Team Bio

I am a raptor ecologist and falconer. I am currently finishing my PhD at Antioch University New England. I have recently launched a new blog so, please check it out!
When I am not researching Golden Eagles I am hiking, enjoying nature or playing with my very silly Blue and Gold Macaw, Grover.

Michele Losee

I am a raptor ecologist and falconer. Currently, I am a PhD Candidate at Antioch University New England with my research focus on Golden Eagles in Arizona.

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Project Backers

  • 4Backers
  • 18%Funded
  • $280Total Donations
  • $70.00Average Donation
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