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Golden eagle indifference to heli-skiing and military helicopters in northern Utah

Posted date: September 17, 2010
Publication Year: 
2010
Authors: Grubb, Teryl G.; Delaney, David K.; Bowerman, William W.; Wierda, Michael R.
Publication Series: 
Miscellaneous Publication
Source: Journal of Wildlife Management. 74(6): 1275-1285.

Abstract

In 2006-2007, during Wasatch Powderbird Guides (WPG) permit renewal for heli-skiing in the Tri-Canyon Area (TCA) of the Wasatch Mountains, Utah, USA, we recorded 303 helicopter passes between 0 m and 3,000 m (horizontal distance) near >30 individual golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) in 22 nesting territories, through passive observation and active experimentation with civilian and military (Apache AH-64) helicopters. Flight profiles included 800-m, 400-m, 200-m, and 100-m flybys (horizontal distance from cliff nest on parallel course), as well as approaches and popouts where helicopters flew toward, or popped out from behind, adult-occupied cliff nests (0 m, horizontal distance). Between 1981 and 2007, during the only 8 years when nesting in the TCA was confirmed by presence of chicks, WPG annually flew 108-2,836 helicopter flights in the same drainages on 10-37 days between 15 December and 15 April, with no effect on early courtship, nest repair, or subsequent nesting success.

Citation

Grubb, Teryl G.; Delaney, David K.; Bowerman, William W.; Wierda, Michael R. 2010. Golden eagle indifference to heli-skiing and military helicopters in northern Utah. Journal of Wildlife Management. 74(6): 1275-1285.