We’ve all seen it- a huge group of eagles congregating on a carcass in a wintry farmfield. Our valley hosts a HUGE overwintering eagle population, but how huge is it? Raptor View Research Institute began capturing eagles on the MPG Ranch in 2011, with the primary goal of using satellite transmitters to learn about the habitat use and migration paths of adult, overwintering Golden Eagles. With time and over 100 captures of both Golden and Bald Eagles, this project evolved to also encompass auxiliary marking (e.g., wing tags, colored leg bands) both species. With these markers, we've amassed an impressive archive of eagle re-sightings in the Bitterroot Valley and other locations, including Washington and British Columbia. To increase our ability to re-sight marked eagles locally, we joined forces with Bitterroot Audubon and private landowners to deploy more than 20 carcass and camera stations on private lands during the winter of 2016-2017. Thus the Bitterroot Valley Winter Eagle Project was born.
In this talk, we’ll share the stories of some of the eagles and other wildlife “captured” on camera, the people who welcomed biologists and deer carcasses onto their private land, and how we’re working to leverage the data collected for positive conservation outcomes for wildlife and people. Not only did we re-sight previously marked eagles at our stations, we also documented many other wildlife species- from bobcats to moose- using private lands. We currently have over 3,000 volunteers from all over the world tagging our pictures on the crowd-sourcing site Zooniverse. We also raised enough funds within the community to purchase and successfully deploy a “community” satellite transmitter. We’ll be continuing this project this winter, and there are several ways you can get involved!!
Kate Stone is an ecologist at the MPG Ranch and a board member of Bitterroot Audubon. Adam Shreading is a biologist for the Missoula-based Raptor View Research Institute. Through these organizations, Kate and Adam have developed several collaborative research projects aimed at linking scientific information with community engagement.
The program will be held in the Forest Service/Natural Resources Building, 1801 North 1st. (north end of Hamilton), west side of HWY 93. Enter the building on the west side. The Public is invited.