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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Activity Patterns of Golden Eagles in San Benito County, CA

  • Author(s): Natake, Taichi
  • et al.

The golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) is a top predator of lagomorphs and ground squirrels in open, mountainous habitats in western North America. It is currently listed as a species of concern by the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service. Understanding the diel and seasonal use of water could enhance conservation of this important species. I quantified the visits (N=402) of golden eagles to 13 water sources using camera trap photo data obtained at the Ventana Ranch, San Benito County, California. Frequency of occurrence was analyzed by the Chi-square test to confirm diel and seasonal activity patterns. Golden eagle activity peaked between 10am and 5pm PST; there were no nocturnal visits to water sources. Bathing and drinking were noted at 32% and 14% of visits, respectively. Visits were rare during the Spring-breeding season and peaked in the hot months of July and August when both adults and juveniles were detected.

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