Summary & Purpose
A central theme for conservation is understanding how animals differentially use, and are affected by change in, the landscapes they inhabit. However, it has been challenging to develop conservation schemes for habitat-specific behaviors. Here we use Behavioral Change Point Analysis to identify behavioral states of golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) in the Sonoran and Mojave Deserts of the southwestern United States, and we identify, for each behavioral state, conservation-relevant habitat associations. We modeled behavior using186,859 GPS points from 48 eagles and identified 2851 distinct segments comprising four behavioral states. Altitude above ground level (AGL) best differentiated behavioral states, with two clusters of short-distance movement behaviors characterized by low AGL (state 1 AGL = 14 m (median); state 2 AGL = 11 m) and two associated with longer distance movement behaviors and characterized by higher AGL (state 3 AGL = 108 m; state 4 AGL = 450 m). Behaviors such as perching and low altitude hunting were associated with short-distance movements in updraft-poor environments, at higher elevations, and over steeper and more north-facing terrain. In contrast, medium-distance movements such as hunting and transiting were over gentle and south-facing slopes. Long-distance transiting occurred over the desert habitats that generate the best updraft. This information can guide management of this species, and our approach provides a template for behavior-specific habitat associations for other species of management concern.
Date of Publication or Submission
This work was supported by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW agreements P1182024, P1480006 and P1550004), San Diego Associations of Government, William J. Toulis Trust, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management (U.S. BLM contracts L11PX02237, L11PS01121, L16PS01098 and L16PS01127), the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (contract 8019.17.057751) as well as the authors’ institutions.
Single Dataset or Series?
Golden eagles were trapped using bow net traps set over carcasses or by hand in the nest, and each bird outfitted with 80-95g solar powered GPS/GSM (Global Positioning System/Global System for Mobile Communications) transmitters (Cellular Tracking Technologies, Rio Grande, NJ). Telemetry units were attached as backpacks with a non-abrasive Teflon ribbon harness. The uploaded data is a representation of the telemetry data used for the manuscript titled "Linking behavioral states to landscape features for improved conservation management". The data shows position (Latitude and Longitude) and date-time information of a pre-adult female golden eagle. For more information on the data please refer to the full manuscript.
January 2015 - April 2015
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Sur, Maitreyi; Woodbridge, Brian; Esque, Todd C.; Belthoff, Jim R.; Bloom, Peter H.; Fisher, Robert N.; Longshore, Kathleen; Nussear, Kenneth E.; Tracey, Jeff A.; Braham, Melissa A.; and Katzner, Todd E.. (2021). Dataset for Linking Behavioral States to Landscape Features for Improved Conservation Management [Data set]. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.18122/bio_data.7.boisestate