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Research article2016Peer reviewed

Habitat selection by adult Golden Eagles Aquila chrysaetos during the breeding season and implications for wind farm establishment

Singh, Navinder; Moss, Edward; Hipkiss, Tim; Ecke, Frauke; Dettki, Holger; Sandström, Per; Bloom, Peter H; Kidd, Jeff W; Thomas, Scott E; Hörnfeldt, Birger


Capsule: Global Positioning System (GPS)-tagged adult Golden Eagles Aquila chrysaetos breeding in forests in northern Sweden selected clear-cuts, coniferous forests with lichens and steep slopes during the breeding season but avoided wetlands and mixed forest.Aims: To investigate the habitat selection patterns of tree-nesting Golden Eagles, and identify how potential conflicts with wind farm development could be minimized.Methods: The study is based on GPS tracking data from 22 adult eagles. We estimated home range sizes using a biased random bridge approach and habitat selection patterns using resource selection functions following a use-availability design.Results: Core home range size among adults was variable during the breeding season (5-30 km(2)). Individual movement extents were variable, but sexes did not significantly differ in their scale of movement. At the landscape scale, individuals selected for clear-cuts and coniferous forest with ground lichens, whereas wetland, water bodies and mixed forest were avoided. Steeper and south facing slopes were selected for, whereas, north facing slopes were avoided.Conclusions: Potential conflicts between eagles and wind energy establishment can be reduced if wind farms are placed away from steep slopes, minimizing areas that are clear-cut during construction, and locating turbines within dense, young and other less favoured forest habitats.

Published in

Bird Study
2016, Volume: 63, number: 2, pages: 233-240