VDGIF/Norfolk Botanical Garden Eagle Cam: Transmitter details

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, in partnership with the Norfolk Botanical Garden and WVEC, is providing a rare glimpse into the life of two bald eagles and their offspring!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

“Transmitter details”

Biologists from the Center for Conservation Biology at William & Mary will be fitting a satellite transmitter to one of the Norfolk Botanical Garden eaglets on Wednesday May 20th at 10:00am.
The biologists will do both the climbing and the transport of the chick to the ground. At this stage of the eaglets' development the birds are much more active and experienced hands will ensure the safety of the birds. The largest of the chicks will be selected to ensure the best fit. Choosing the largest of the eaglets will also reduce the ratio of the weight of the transmitter relative to the eagle. As a general rule of thumb the weight of a transmitter shouldn't exceed 3% of a bird's body weight. The transmitter being used weighs 70 grams (equivalent to about 14 U.S. nickels). At the time of the banding the largest eaglet was #2 (readable band HH) at 2973 grams. By the time the bird fledges the transmitter will only be about 1.5% (or less) of its body weight. The eaglet will be weighed and measured again while on the ground being fitted with the transmitter.
The bird will be hooded during the procedure to help keep it calm. These transmitters do not interfere with the eagle's daily lives - there are records of bald eagles successfully breeding and fledging young while wearing a transmitter.