Tracking Gas Impact on Bald Eagles

There wasn’t a study of the impact on natural gas extraction on bald eagles before operations started in anticline region of the Green River Valley of Wyoming, so a new study will closely examine which habitats bald eagles in the area are using, and which they are not using, says an article in the Jackson Hole News & Guide.

The study is being conducted by Bryan Bedrosian of Craighead Beringia South, a non-profit science and education institute, and Susan Patla of the Wyoming Department of Game and Fish, the article says. According to the Craighead Beringia South website, the Bureau of Land Management is another partner in the study.

The research team has attached a solar-powered, rechargeable GPS/satellite tracking devices to six bald eagles, with the stated goal of tracking 12 bald eagles in total. The study is expected to last six years.

Details of the trapping method are described in the Jackson Hole News & Guide article. Read it here.
More details about the study are available on the Craighead Beringia South website. Here. (Includes a slideshow.)
See where the eagles with transmitters are flying, here.

Smoothing Ruffled Feathers

It took a long time to sort out, but this week the the federal Justice Department clarified its stand on native people possessing eagle feathers. The policy said that tribal members can possesses or wear feathers from bald or golden eagles. They can also lend, give or trade the feathers or bird parts to other tribal members, as long as money doesn’t change hands.

Further, tribal members can keep eagle feathers that they pick up off the ground, but they can’t kill or harass the federally protected birds to get the feathers. There’s a federal depository for eagles that were accidentally killed, and tribal members can apply to receive feathers or parts from the repository for ceremonial purposes.

The US Fish and Wildlife department also issues a few permits for tribal members to kill eagles for religious purposes.

The Summit County Citizens Voice was the article getting all the buzz. Read the article, here.
You can also check out the Washington Post‘s take on the issue, here.

But now that we have eagle situation solved, other migratory birds are an issue. An Alaskan man was stunned to find out that selling items decorated with bird feathers is illegal, the Anchorage Daily News reports. As a member of the Tlingit nation, he felt that he was just doing what his people had done for generations. He settled the case for a $2,005 fine.

Unfortunately, the article does not clarify how the federal Migratory Bird Act applies to tribal members, but it is likely that the rule is similar to the rule for eagle feathers and parts.

Read the Anchorage Daily News story here.

Photo by Dave Menke, courtesy US Fish and Wildlife Service