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Breeding Status and Population Trends of Golden Eagles in Northeastern Québec, Canada

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Author(s): Natalie D'Astous | Pierre Lamothe | Sandie Poliquin | Benoit Gagnon | François Morneau | Junior A. Tremblay

Journal: Avian Conservation and Ecology
ISSN 1712-6568

Volume: 7;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 4;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: aerial survey | Aquila chrysaetos | breeding characteristics | Golden Eagle | population trends | Québec

ABSTRACT
In North America, it is hypothesized that the Golden Eagle's (Aquila chrysaetos) eastern population declined during the period 1946-1973 because of organochlorine pesticides and other anthropogenic causes of mortality. Since 1970, upward trends for the species have been observed at most eastern hawkwatches. To determine whether such positive trends can be observed on breeding grounds, Golden Eagle counts were performed to monitor nesting territory occupancy between 1994 and 2007 in the Moisie and Sainte-Marguerite River valleys, northeastern Québec. Aerial surveys were conducted during seven of the 14 years. During this period, the number of known nesting territories in the study area increased from 10 to 20, while the number of pairs rose from six to 14. The increase is attributed mostly to investigators' improved experience in finding nests and to their greater familiarity with the study area, and possibly to the growth of the regional population. Occupancy of nesting territories by pairs was very stable over the years. Annual mean % of laying pairs (or laying rate) was 48.0 (SD = 19.9), and productivity (mean number of fledglings per pair) was 0.49 (SD = 0.35).
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