The late Marie Petuh was not only a ‘forever’ member of the Naturalists’ Club of Broome County, but she was also one of the early participants in the Franklin Mt. Hawkwatch in Oneonta. The Delaware-Otsego Audubon Society has an ongoing program to capture and fit Golden Eagles with GPS transmitters to learn their winter locations and migration routes. Naming rights for captured birds go to supporters of the program, and on January 14, 2016, a female Golden netted in Delaware Co. was named Marie by Kay Crane of Walton, a long-time friend and birding companion of Marie Petuh.
A nestling in 2013, Marie will be a full adult next year. It is unlikely she bred this past summer and it is not known if she is with any other Golden Eagles. It is apparently difficult to determine if the clusters of data points on the summer map are nesting vs feeding locations.
Unlike her petite namesake, this Golden is reportedly a fairly large eagle weighing 12 lbs. with a 7 foot wingspan.
According to Tom Salo, this eagle likes carrion. She has fed numerous times very near highways. She spent a week along State Route 17 near East Branch. Other tracked eagles avoid roads for the most part. The past 2 winters Marie spent a lot of time where a coyote hunter puts out road killed deer as bait. Probably not a good location as the deer carcasses may well have been shot with lead, which is frequently lethal to eagles. Marie has spent very little time at that formerly baited location this season, staying mostly north or west of it.
Incidentally, the data from the GPS transmitter is received via the cell phone network, so once a bird goes far enough north in Canada and out of cell phone range, no more info is received. However, the unit stores the summer’s data and downloads it when back in range in the fall. According to Andy Mason, Marie came back into cell phone range in southern Canada in mid-November 2016, which allowed download of data of her movements since she went north the previous spring.
Special thanks to Andy Mason and Tom Salo for providing the information and photos for this article. More info on DOAS’ Golden Eagle research is available at http://doas.us/research/golden-eagles/.