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Urban avoidance by Golden Eagles in the Great Basin
AuthorOrmsby, Zachary Edmund
AdvisorBassett, Scott D.
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I am presenting the first documented attempt designed to track Golden Eagle (Aguila chrysaetos) movements in the Great Basin for evaluation of areas that they avoid. I hypothesize that Golden Eagles are eschewing urban population centers and associated built environments. Traditionally, Golden Eagle research has focused on understanding life-history traits, resource selection functions, and habitat requirements. Understanding the impacts of anthropogenic land-use changes on regional Golden Eagle populations has gained traction in the green energy sector, however, data on the effects of urban sprawl is sparse. The primary goal of this project is to discern how Golden Eagles are responding to urbanization in the second largest metropolitan area within the northern portion of the Great Basin. We applied GPS-GSM transmitters to 12 Golden Eagles in the region of Reno and Sparks, Nevada. The transmitters update GPS coordinates every 15 minutes, allowing us to analyze movement data in relation to water-impervious built surfaces and human density. Preserving natural resources while humans increase their footprint across the landscape is a modern dilemma that can benefit from regional research within a framework capable of extrapolation.