Ectoparasitism and Energy Infrastructure Limit Survival of Preadult Golden Eagles in the Southern Great Plains EL ECTOPARASITISMO Y LA INFRAESTRUCTURA ENERGÉTICA LIMITAN LA SUPERVIVENCIA DE LOS INDIVIDUOS PREADULTOS DE AQUILA CHRYSAETOS EN LAS GRANDES LLANURAS DEL SUR

Abstract

—Much of the US Southern Great Plains (SGP) continues to undergo intensive energy development that could affect the region’s Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos), yet the species’ population status there is unknown. During 2011–2020, we used satellite telemetry to assess annual survival rates and causes of mortality among 40 preadult (,3 yr of age) Golden Eagles in the SGP; 29 were monitored beginning at the late nestling stage and 11 immigrated into the SGP from western regions. For comparison we monitored 15 preadult Golden Eagles from nests in the Central Great Plains (CGP), where energy development was less extensive. We estimated survival rates by using a multi-state model in a Bayesian framework that accounted for probabilities of causes of death. Mean annual survival in the SGP during the preadult period was 0.060, versus 0.512 in the CGP and ~0.7–0.9 reported elsewhere in the coterminous western USA. Mexican chicken bugs (Haematosiphon inodorus) were implicated in deaths of at least seven Golden Eagles during the ~2-wk late nestling stage and in two deaths,3 mo after fledging. Energy infrastructure especially electrocutions accounted for 12 (57.1%) of 21 deaths of post-fledged preadults. Seven of 11 immigrant eagles died. Overall, probabilities of death of a Golden Eagle during the preadult period in the SGP due to Mexican chicken bugs and to electrocution were both 0.345. We estimated that the SGP population may be declining 9% annually due to poor recruitment; mitigation of underlying factors should be a priority for managing Golden Eagles in the western USA.

Description

Ó 2023 The Raptor Research Foundation, Inc. None

Keywords

electrocution, Great Plains, Haematosiphon inodorus, Mexican chicken bug, mortality, survival rate estimate

Citation

Murphy, R.K., Millsap, B.A., Stahlecker, D.W., Boal, C.W., Smith, B.W., Mullican, S.D., & Borgman, C.C.. 2023. Ectoparasitism and Energy Infrastructure Limit Survival of Preadult Golden Eagles in the Southern Great Plains EL ECTOPARASITISMO Y LA INFRAESTRUCTURA ENERGÉTICA LIMITAN LA SUPERVIVENCIA DE LOS INDIVIDUOS PREADULTOS DE AQUILA CHRYSAETOS EN LAS GRANDES LLANURAS DEL SUR. Journal of Raptor Research, 57(4). https://doi.org/10.3356/JRR-21-72

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