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Nilsson, Mattias, 2014. Movement ecology of the golden eagle Aquila chrysaetos and the semidomesticated reindeer Rangifer tarandus : synchronous movements in a boreal ecosystem. Second cycle, A2E. Umeå: SLU, Dept. of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies



The golden eagle Aquila chrysaetos in Sweden are believed to be rather sedentary.
Hence, studies in Norway suggest the opposite with a diurnal pattern with seasonal migrations to e.g. south Sweden during the winter – distances of thousands of
kilometers. Almost 90 percent of the eagles in Sweden are distributed in the northern parts and occur only in scattered patches in the southern parts of the country. Still, there are reports of eagles visiting feeding ground in these parts of the country during the winter although their origin so far has been unknown. In these boreal ecosystems there are reports that the semi-domesticated reindeer Rangifer tarandus L. constitutes the main prey base for native large carnivores. Here, studies on nesting eagle’s food preferences have reviled it to be an important scavenger on reindeer although its extent to prey is concealed. Still, interactions between the species effect ecosystem functions and thus, its resilience. Today, there are few studies on golden eagle movement behavior and there is no study in relation to the movement of the semidomesticated reindeer. On a landscape level, identification of such behaviors enables us to quantify the extent, duration and the timing of the movement dynamics. It gives us understanding to what level these movements are synchronized or not – movement behaviors depending on different life stages, e.g. age, environmental factors and food resources. In Northern Sweden, the ecosystem is characterized by high seasonality causing periods with limited access to food for both predators and prey causing
population fluctuation and seasonal migrations. This seasonal movement behavior gives rise to large reindeer migrations twice a year: from the boreal forest in the
winter (the winter feeding range) to the alpine tundra in the summer (calving- and summer feeding range). Due to eagles tracked with GPS –transmitters, I had the
opportunity to test for spatio-temporal synchronization on the timing of the movement of golden eagle (n = 43) and reindeer migration during two consecutive years (2011
and 2012). My results suggests that both juvenile- and adult golden eagles migrate – often over 1000 km. Further, a behavioral change points analyses suggested that
individuals likely synchronized the timing of migration to those of the reindeer’s in spring. Hence, the synchronism was less significant during the autumn indicating
several factors participating. Hopefully, this study will help to increase our knowledge on movement patterns of golden eagles in Scandinavia, and also, rise questions for
further studies of both eagles and reindeers and thereby develop the management of both species in the future.

Main title:Movement ecology of the golden eagle Aquila chrysaetos and the semidomesticated reindeer Rangifer tarandus
Subtitle:synchronous movements in a boreal ecosystem
Authors:Nilsson, Mattias
Supervisor:Singh, Navinder and Hörnfeldt, Birger
Examiner:Edenius, Lars
Series:Examensarbete i ämnet biologi / Sveriges lantbruksuniversitet, Institutionen för vilt, fisk och miljö
Volume/Sequential designation:2014:3
Year of Publication:2014
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:SY001 Forest Science - Master's Programme 300 HEC
Supervising department:(S) > Dept. of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies
Keywords:golden eagle, reindeer, GPS transmitter, movement, seasonal migration, ecosystem, Northern Sweden
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Animal ecology
Deposited On:18 Mar 2014 12:48
Metadata Last Modified:24 Mar 2014 13:53

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