There’s a celebratory mood in the air on this cold Saturday in February, in the Catskills town of Andes. Members of the Delaware Otsego Audubon Society, with help from the Department of Environmental Conservation, had for the first time trapped a golden eagle on its winter migration from Canada.
A veterinarian and a DEC biologist measure the surprisingly calm eagle, draw blood and attach a small tracking device to its back. This female is small for a golden eagle, with a 6-foot wingspan, weighting ten pounds, and with talons that are long and black and a bit terrifying.
Tom Salo is the research coordinator for the Audubon Society. Salo says there have been many challenges trapping one - they don’t always go for the bait.
“We’ve actually, at one of our sites, had golden eagles stop eating the venison bait we put out and start killing ravens and eating live ravens, which makes it a little harder for us to trap them,” says Salo.