At Bitterroot Audubon, we believe that ordinary citizens can help collect amazing data. Please consider helping us with our WINTER EAGLE PROJECT!!
The Bitterroot Valley contains diverse stakeholders. We’ve experienced rapid growth in recent years, but much of the landscape is still dominated by agricultural activities. Conservation groups like Bitterroot Audubon and the Bitter Root Land Trust have worked hard on voluntary efforts to protect wildlife, working lands, and water in our community. However, like agricultural communities in many areas, our working lands and their stewards are often underappreciated for the habitat services they provide to all community members. We hope to work towards bridging this gap.
The Bitterroot Valley hosts a huge overwintering Bald and Golden Eagle population, partially due to the habitat our agricultural lands provide. Raptor View Research Institute (RVRI) has been studying overwintering eagles here since 2011. To date, they have captured over 70 Golden and 20 Bald Eagles, and deployed wing tags, numbered leg bands, and/or satellite transmitters on individuals depending on their species and age.
We are hoping to increase the re-sighting rate of marked eagles. We know they rely heavily on private lands in the winter. We know many of our eagles, though they breed elsewhere, return to the Bitterroot Valley year after year.
Our project is a Citizen Science effort to deploy motion-sensing cameras on carcasses on private lands throughout the valley. We hope this action will:
-Increase the detections of marked eagles with camera stations set around the Bitterroot Valley
-Develop areas where researchers can safely trap eagles for additional banding, marking, and deployment of satellite transmitters
-Collect information on the use and importance of working lands in supporting overwintering eagle population and other scavenging wildlife species
-Encourage dialog between farmers, ranchers, and scientists about conservation issues concerning eagles, landowner needs and management goals, and the positive intersection of these two concepts
-Engage people of many backgrounds in a Citizen Science project
Results so far:
-Going into our second season, we are currently working with more than 30 private landowners.
-We re-sighted at least five previously marked eagles in the photos captured in 2016-2017. In addition to eagles, we also captured thousands of images of coyotes, foxes, raccoons, bobcats, and other wildlife.
-We've done presentations and outreach with several THOUSAND people so far!
How you can help:
There are many ways you can help with this project! Most importantly, you can help us process our images by visiting the Western Montana Wildlife project on Zooniverse. We currently have over 4,000 volunteers from all over the world helping us classify images.
We have already earned financial support from Bitterroot Audubon, Montana Audubon, National Audubon, the Rapp Family Foundation, Cinnabar Foundation, and private individuals. RVRI and MPG Ranch have donated staff time and equipment. Through these efforts, we've raised over $10,000 and can fully implement the project in the winter of 2017-2018. However, we will still accept donations that will help us with educational aspects of this project, like working with local high school students. Please use this PayPal button to donate towards the eagle project.
Current partners include: