GPS Tracking Keeps Our Nation’s Symbol In The Air

In a previous article, we’ve covered how OCEARCH utilized GPS technology to track sharks and their swimming patterns. OCEARCH researchers determined that the sharks swam according to their mating instincts, and dispelled the notion that sharks swim where the tastiest looking humans are concentrated. This time, GPS tracking technology is working to help save the bald eagle.

Researchers at the Center of Conservation Biology started their research in the summer of 2007, tagging the majestic eagles with tiny GPS tracking devices. The researchers are specifically tracking the eagles that live in the Chesapeake Bay area. Interestingly enough, the Department of Defense finds that military bases provide shelter for the bald eagles. Ironically, these same shelters also provide some lethal hazards for the birds, such as power lines, and the military often conducts loud ordinance testing which may scare them off.

Researchers hope to track bald eagles, their flight and migratory patterns in order to understand the scope of their ecology. By tracking the bald eagle’s flight patterns, we can plan our future constructions for machines that are otherwise beneficial for us, such as wind turbines, to place them out of the bald eagle’s way.

The researchers at the CCB explain that there’s a lack of research of the bald eagles. The CCB notes that they lack, in particular, data of the first five years of the bald eagle’s breeding patterns. “To many of us at the CCB, the most exciting aspects of the tracking dataset are the movement patterns of young eagles…Soon, many of those birds will have been tracked over their entire juvenile period — from the nest where they were hatched to the nest where they will breed.”

It’s worth noting that the once endangered bald eagle has since been removed from the endangered species list, according to CNN, since 2007. GPS research can help continue to keep our nation’s animal symbol off the list, and perhaps help various species who currently face endangerment.

Keep track of the bald eagles yourself, there are over 60 now! What species of animals would you like to see researched using GPS tracking technology?

If you’re interested, you can track the current set of 20 bald eagles by clicking here. What species of animals would you like to see researched through GPS tracking?