Post-fledging spatial use by a juvenile Wedge-tailed Eagle Aquila audax using satellite telemetry

Despite considerable knowledge on aspects of the ecology of the Wedge-tailed Eagle Aquila audax, information on home range size has been limited to estimates based on visual observations and nesting densities. This study aims to provide a methodological and theoretical framework for the potential applications and recommendations for the use of satellite tracking to research eagles. In November 2012 a juvenile Wedge-tailed Eagle was captured soon after fledging and released with a GPS (Minitrack™) tracking unit fitted via a backpack style harness. The unit was scheduled to take location fixes at 90-minute intervals between 0530 and 2200 hr. Location data from the eagle’s first six weeks postfledging were analysed using the minimum convex polygon (MCP) and fixed kernel methods and showed that, over time, there was a significant increase in area used and distance travelled per day. This study, the fi rst time a Wedge-tailed Eagle has been satellite tracked for research, serves as a pilot study.

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