Tracking Golden Eagle #11-0017: 2011

Golden Eagle 11-0017 PortraitGolden Eagle #11-0017 was admitted to the Wildlife Center in January 2011 after he was found caught in a foothold trap in Craig County, Virginia. After one month of rehabilitation, the eagle was released at Harvey’s Knob Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

This was the first eagle that Center staff were able to track along with biologists in the Eastern Golden Working Group, an international partnership founded in 2010 to address research gaps and to gather basic information about the distribution and ecology of Gold Eagles. Biologists are still learning more about the Golden Eagle population east of the Mississippi, though they know that the eastern population of Golden Eagles typically spends the breeding season in Canada and winters in Virginia/West Virginia.


Center staff were able to track this Golden Eagle for about six weeks before data transmissions stopped. In the month following the eagle's release, the bird remained in Virginia, flying through Botetourt and Craig Counties. On March 21, the eagle started to move north on what ended up being a 10-day journey to Quebec, Canada. On that migration trip, the eagle traveled more than 764 miles in 10 days and averaged 95 miles per travel day.


Start of Day

End of Day

Miles Traveled

March 21

Craig County

West of Harrisonburg

88 miles

March 22

west of Harrisonburg

Berkeley Springs, WV

79 miles

March 23

rest day in WV


1 mile

March 24

Berkeley Springs, WV

MD/PA border

55 miles

March 25

MD/PA border

Mercersburg, PA

29 miles

March 26

Mercersburg, PA

PA/NY border

210 miles

March 27

PA/NY border

Worcester, NY

89 miles

March 28

rest day around Worcester, NY


0 miles

March 29

Worcester, NY

Saranac, NY

150 miles

March 30

Saranac, NY

Montreal, Quebec

63 miles+

Unfortunately, the eagle did not "check in" again after reaching Quebec. The biologists who were following along with this eagle (and many other Golden Eagles with transmitters) anticipated that once the bird was about 100 miles north of Montreal, it would likely be out of cell range for the remainder of the season. According to data on other tracked Golden Eagles, the birds typically leave their breeding grounds in late October. Though staff and biologists hoped that this Golden Eagle would start transmitting data again in the fall, the transmitter remained silent.

Golden Eagle route in 2011