Update March 2016
Hytop checked in last on December 7, 2015 and has been spending time around Sparta, TN.
Update - 27 March 2015
Hytop is on his way north for the summer. He actually started heading north on Valentine's Day (again) but turned back and flew over Cheatham WMA and the Nashville area, returning to the southern plateau, before going north again.
This map is of his movements in Tennessee over the winter. He was only in Tennessee for about 2 months!
Here is his full winter 2014-15 route. He came south through eastern IN, into the Cookeville area, then north to the Hoosier NF in IN, then back south to the plateau, heading north over Franklin Co and to Ft. Campbell and LBL before turning back south. Phew! He's currently in north-central(ish) Indiana. He's following the same forested river bottoms north that he's used the last two springs!
Update - 23 Jan 2015
Hytop has been in Indiana on the Hoosier NF for a while, but is working his way back south and is in Kentucky.
Update - 4 Jan 2015
Hytop headed NORTH after spending time near Cookeville TN. He's been on the Hoosier National Forest in IN for a couple weeks. The long term cloud cover reduced his battery charge enough that he didn't collect data for a week. Hopefully the sun will return!
Update - 15 Dec 2014
Hytop was back in Tennessee for a bit and wandered around north of Cookeville, but headed back north and was last in southern Kentucky.
Update - 24 Nov 2014
He's working is way south through northern Indiana now. You can't see it in this image, but for the most part, he's very closely following river corridors as he moves south, whether thye are very forested or not. He spends the night in the larger forest patches on the landscape though!
Update - 11 Nov 2014
Our Hytop bird is still north of the Great Lakes. Since 1 Nov he's slowly wandered west along the north shore of Lake Huron. He's likely to cross back to the main part of Michigan shortly.
Update - 31 Oct 2014
Hytop is back for a 3rd season (but this is better than any TV show). He spent the summer in the exact same area where he spent summer 2014. He also did a bit of a trip north, just like he did last summer too!
Hytop's southbound route in fall 2014 through 31 Oct 2014.
Summer 2014 (compare to summer 2013!, hint, it's exactly the same spot).
Update - 19 April 2014
Hytop is off the radar! He last checked in on 22 Mar, see map below. He likely returned to his breeding territory by late March. Hopefully he'll find a female and raise young for the first time in 2014.
Here is Hytop's full spring 2013 (pink) and 2014 (blue) routes. They overlap quite well through Indiana and north! Next map shows details of how he crossed the Great Lakes.
Here is Hytop's route from the mitten of northern Michigan into the Upper Peninsula. This year he island hopped rather than crossing at the Mackinac Bridge.
Update - 23 March 2014
Hytop is on the move again. After working his way up through Michigan, he crossed into the UP a littl east of the bridge this year. He didn't check in on the 23rd, which is the first time in 6 weeks that he didn't check in. He may be off the grid for the season, but I hope not! BLUE route is 2014, while the pink points are his 2013 route.
Update - 10 March 2014
Hytop has been lingering in the same area of Indiana for over a week, but started to move north again on Sunday, March 9.
See map below - Hytop's route in spring 2013 is the pink points, while 2014 points are blue. He is spending basically all his time in familiar areas and his main migration route covers the same forested corridor he followed last year!!
Update - 21 February 2014
Hytop eventually came south through Ontario and Detroit and zipped to southern OH and northern KY, where he spent a month. He then came down the plateau through Dekalb, Warren, and Grundy counties, flying near Sewanee, before getting back onto Bear Hollow Mountain WMA and Skyline WMA (AL). He spent about a month going back and forth between TN and AL, and showing up ON one of our TWRA run bait sites in Franklin Co. in late January 2014! On Feb 17, he headed north and has made significant progress in only a few days.
Map below is his route though 11 Jan 2014. Sparse pink markers down through Ontario and through eastern Tennessee is his southbound route in winter 2013-14. We reprogrammed the transmitter in late Nov 2013 because it wasn't storing and sending data properly (only sent 1 point per day). He is now sending data as he should (see below)!
After spending January and early February on Bear Hollow Mountain WMA and Skyline WMA (in AL), he initiated migration north on 18 Feb 2014. He headed north on 14 Feb 2013.
Feb 18 - He flew over Tim's Ford Lake in Moore Co., TN about 10:30am, he flew over Franklin TN at 2:10pm, and spent the night on Cheatham WMA
Feb 19 - He flew NW and over Ft. Campbell to LBL, where he turned due north and flew north over LBL and spent the night on the northern end of LBL.
Feb 20 - He covered only 40 mi or so into Crittenden Co., KY
Feb 21 - On the 21st he flew NE over 100 miles in only 4 hours and is basically over the exact route he was on in February 2013! He ended up flying about 160 miles (straight-line miles).
Blue route below his Hytop's route on Feb 18-21, 2014.
Update 22 Nov 2013! Hytop is back on the grid!
Hytop is back! He went north beyond cell coverage in late April 2013 and finally returned to southern Canada in early November 2013. Since returning in early November, he has spent a lot of time in southern Ontario and around Toronto. We have recieved data on his whereabouts from late April through 22 August 2013 and his most recent locations*.
Hytop spent nearly all of April through August in one SMALL area in northwest Quebec, venturing north deeper into the Ungava Peninsula in mid-July for several days before returning to his summer range and then staying in the same small area for 2 more months!
Since early November, he has been slowly working his way down through southern Ontario and looks to be coming south along the north side of Lake Erie and likely reentering the United States near Detroit, Michigan.
*The transmitters are solar powered and send data to cell towers, so a combination of good cell coverage and strong battery power is required to send large volumes of data.
Hytop's full route from north Alabama through 22 Aug 13 and then in early to mid-November in southern Quebec and into southern Ontario.
Below is a regional image of where Hytop spent the summer. The big cluster of purple just NE of those two round lakes is his small summer home range. Although it looks like a big area, 99% of the points are in one very small area (see next image).
Zoomed in image of Hytop's summer range. The majority of the summer was spent in that tight cluster of data points.
Archive on Hytop
This Golden Eagle was caught on February 9, 2013, just across the Tennessee state line on Skyline WMA in Jackson Co., Alabama. The bird is a 5 yr old male. From plumage details, this bird is likely one of the birds we had on a study site in Franklin Co., Tennessee a couple weeks earlier. Considering the close proximity of the study sites in Tennessee and Alabama, we were almost certainly sharing this bird. This 5th year bird should attempt breeding for the first time this year.
Movements in Spring 2013:
For the first 5 days after being trapped, Hytop didn't move more than a couple miles from the trapping location. On Valentine's Day he went from north Alabama to north of I-40 near the Caney Fork rest area in north-central Tennessee. From there he took a more or less direct north-south route through western Kentucky and western Indiana into southwest Michigan. He got to southwest Michigan in late February and two days later a big snow storm hit. The bird turned back south, following almost the exact same route south towards Bloomington, Indiana, then veered west into southern Illinois for a few days and turned back north. Hytop subsequently followed the same path north from southern Indiana to the very north end of the "mitten" of Michigan where he flew across the Great Lakes at the Mackinac Bridge! He then veered east and went into Ontario, Canada, following a due NE route for several hundred miles into Quebec. He has since almost reached the southern end of the Hudson Bay, but he turned back and spent a couple weeks in southern Ontario before going "off the radar" presumably back north and out of cell range on April 21, 2013. We believe that he is not attempting to breed this year.
The most interesting thing about the track this bird has taken through western Indiana (3 times now) is that he VERY closely follows a north-south forested corridor. The bird is always near, over, or in mature forest. He spend little time out over the agricultural fields and his path is almost always directly over the forest, even when the forest zone is little more than a half mile wide riparian zone. When he runs out of mature forest, the bird makes rapid movements across the open landscape to the next big forested area. In two specific sections of western Indiana, his path is over the same narrow wooded corridor!
See Google Earth Map of "Hytop's" path