The Danish Golden Eagle project – University of Copenhagen

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Follow the Danish golden eagles

We call the two Danish golden eagles Hostemark and Tofte based on the places they were born. The male golden eagle (blue) was born in April in Høstemark Forest, Jutland, Denmark. The female golden eagle (orange) was born in May in Tofte Forest, Jutland, Denmark. Find more info at the bottom of the page.

Updates:

The maps are updated with new GPS-data on a weekly basis and the Current status is updated at the beginning of each month. The collected history appears beneath the maps.

Current status (mid May 2018):

Spring is here and we have changed the duty cycle of the GPS-tags to summer mode. This means we will get data points every 15 minute, 24 hours a day.

In April Tofte spent the days between the 2nd and 10th in Northern Jutland in the area between Hvims, Jerup, Dvergetved and Bindslev. It then flew south to the area between Try, Øster Hassing and Grindsted, where it stayed for the rest of April.

Hostemark is still in Hals Sønderskov. We hope that the nest Hostemark has built has eggs in it by now.

2018 Map

2017 Map

History from June 2015


Golden eagles in Denmark

The golden eagle started breeding in Denmark in 1998 and the population now seems stable with three breeding pairs. Since 1998, a total of 36 juveniles have successfully fledged. Of these, 16 have been ringed but excect for three, the destiny of the birds remains unknown.

Why are we tracking them?

In a new Danish research project, we are tracking juvenile golden eagles with GPS technology to understand their movement patterns and use of non-breeding areas. The technology allows us to explore their habitat use and home ranges across the annual cycle. The information we gather will help determine the source population to the Danish breeding birds and investigate genetic relationship within the Danish population. The birds have already shown a large individual variation in movement.

How do we do it?

We mounted a GPS/GSM transmitter to the juvenile golden eagles while they were still in the nest, using a near-adult size to ensure proper adjustment of the harness. The transmitters are mounted with a body-harness following the same technique as has been used on golden eagles in e.g. North America and Sweden. The transmitters are charged by a solar panel and will in theory work throughout the lifetime of the bird. A GPS-position is stored in the transmitters every 15 minutes and sent back via the GSM-net once a day.

Contact person

Anders P. Tøttrup, aptottrup@snm.ku.dk

Collaborators

Jan Tøttrup Nielsen, Kasper Thorup and Cellular Tracking Technologies. The project is in collaboration with the Copenhagen Bird Ringing Centre at the Natural History Museum of Denmark. The project is funded by Aage V. Jensen Naturfond.


History

Start April 2018

Hostemark remain stationary in Hals Sønderskov with occasional trips to its “hunting ground” west of Hals Sønderskov. Hostemark has attracted a mate and they have built a nest. We have our fingers crossed that the two eagles will become a new breeding pair in Denmark.

Tofte is still on the move. From the 1st - 18th it flew back and forth between the area between Try and Langholt and an area north of Nørre Kongerslev, making stops in Hals Sønderskov. On the 19th it flew west south of Vegger and then continued south all the way to Sunds just north of Herning. Hereby it easily travelled more than 100 km in a single day. From the 20th - 28th it stayed in the plantations north of Grønhøj. In the last days of March Tofte flew northeast with the first stop in Lindum Skov, before reaching Tofte Skov on the 31st.

Start March 2018

In the month of February Hostemark and Tofte meet two times.

From Hals Sønderskov Hostemark still makes regular trips to an open area south of Holtet. As mentioned last month the frequency of the visits and habitat type, could indicate that this area is used as hunting grounds by Hostemark. On the 12th of February Hostemark flew east to Koldkær and Hals Østermark and on the 24th if visited Egense Klosterskov south of Limfjorden.

Between the 1st and the 19th of February Tofte stayed in the area between Try, Vester Aslund Plantage and Uggerhalne. On the 21st if flew east to Mel Holtgård Skov, Smalby and Østerled and from here it flew south. On the 22nd Tofte made the first visit to Hals Sønderskov and judging from the data the two eagles appears to have been interacting. Tofte continued south on the same day to its birthplace (Tofte Skov) where it stayed for a few days. On the 25th Tofte flew to Solbjerg Enge, before flying north to its second visit in Hals Sønderskov on the 28th. The data indicate that the two eagles also interacted during the second visit.

Start February 2018

In the first month of 2018 Hostemark still stays most of the time in Hals Sønderskov from where it make trips to nearby locations: Egensekloster Skov and the northern part Høstemark Skov (on the 1st and 28th of January) and to what could be hunting grounds: an open rural area between Gåser, Holtet and Mølholtvej, where Hostemark went more than 10 times during the month of January.

Between the 1st and 11th of January Tofte stays in the area between Vester Aslund Plantage, Holtegård Plantage and Gettrup skov. On the 12th it flies east to Meltholt rimmer where it spends a few days, before continuing north to an area between Dorf, Agersted and Skarpholt Plantage, where it stays until the 27th. From here Tofte flies south to an area between Try and Vester Aslund Plantage and stays for the last 4 days of January.

Start January 2018

Hostemark has as usual spent most of December in Hals Sønderskov. But on the 5th of December if flew north to Hals Mose, where Tofte also was. This marks the first meeting between the two eagles for almost exactly one year. The last time they met was on the 17th of December 2016, where Hostemark also flew to Hals Mose to meet with Tofte.

After the meeting Hostemark flew past Gettrup Skov and Vester Aslund Plantage, before it returned to Hals Sønderskov on the 11th of December, where it stayed for the rest of the month.

During December Tofte has been lying back and forth from Vester Aslund Plantage, Gettrup Skov, Melholt, Smalby and Hals Mose. After the two eagles met Tofte stayed in Hals Mose until the 25th of December where it took off east to Gettrup Skov and Vester Aslund Plantage.

Start December 2017

Winter is here and so are  shorter days with less sunlight. Therefore we have to conserve battery power, to make sure the GPS-tags does not run dry of battery. This means that now the tags only transmit data three times per week and only log the eagles’ positions every 30 minutes and so there will be less new data to add each week.

In the case of Hostemark the fewer positions seems to have made little difference, since it has spent the entire month of November within Hals Sønderskov.

Tofte has flown between Vester Aslund Plantage, Gettrup Skov and Melholt Rimmer west of Smalby. On the 29th of November Tofte flew to Hals Mose and with Hostemark in Hals Sønderskov, the eagles were only 5 km apart!

Start November 2017

In the last month Hostemark has spent the most of the time in Hals Sønderskov and in the nearest proximity. One of those places is an area of farmland between Mølholt and Holtetgård where is has been on the 1st, 4th, 12th and 14th of October.  We are guessing that Hostemark could be using the area for hunting. Besides these shorter trips Hostemark flew to Tofte Skov on the 27th of October. This marks it’s forth trip to Tofte Skov in 2017 (once in April and two times in August).

For the month of October Tofte has stayed in the area west of Smalby where it flies between different locations: Melholt Rimmer, Melholtgård Skov, Gettrup Skov and the area between Vester Aslund Plantage and Gettrup Skov.

Start October 2017

Apart from a trip to Hals Mose on the 15th of September and two trips to Høstemark Skov on the 18th and 30th, Hostemark has remained in its primary habitat: Hals Sønderskov.

Tofte on the other hand has been on the move during September. On the 10th of September Tofte flew south with the first stop in Kragskov Hede on the 12th. It then continued south with a stop East of Nejsum Hede and Pajhede Skov on the 15th. On the 17th it reached Gettrup Skov and Smalby, where it stayed for the rest of September.

With Hostemark in Hals Sønderskov and Tofte in Smalby the two eagles are only 8km apart.

Start September 2017

In the month of August Hostemark has been on the move: on the 16th it flew to the southern part of Tofte Skov, on the 19th it flew north of Smalby and on the 27th it flew revisited Tofte Skov, with a stopover in Høstemark Skov. This is the most south the eagle has been since the 22nd of April 2017, where it also flew to Tofte Skov and the most north since May 2016, where it made its overall longitudinal peak in Dyrheden Skov. By the 2nd of September Hostemark is back in Hals Sønderskov.

Tofte still mainly resides in Råbjerg Mose and during the last month, it has made one longer trip south of Kragskov Hede at the 10th of August, before returning to the central part of Råbjerg Mose again on the 20th of August.

Start August 2017

In the latest period Hostemark still has Hals Sønderskov as its main habitat, all though it has made a few trips to other areas: on the 17th of July it flew to Limfjorden. It then made three trips to an area northwest of Hals Sønderskov on the 23rd, 25th and 27th of July. This area is farmland and the data show that Hostemark has been flying at low altitudes, indicating that the eagle has been hunting here. If anyone has seen an Golden Eagle in this area we would like to hear from you. Also we would also highly appreciate any ground-photos of the area between Aalborgvej, Sønderskovvej and Mølholtvej (9370 Hals). Contact info can be found at the bottom of this page.

On the 6th of July Tofte departed from the southern part of Råbjerg Mose, and flew back to the northern part - the area between Lyngshede and Jerup Hede. Here it stayed for the rest of July with except on the 22nd and the 23rd of July where it flew to Ålbæk Klitplantage and Jerup Hede. Tofte has now spent the most of two months in Råbjerg Mose.

Start July 2017

Since the last status update, both Golden Eagles have been rather stationary.

Tofte has moved south from the area between Lyngshede and Jerup Hede, and has spent the most of the last month in the most southern part of Råbjerg Mose.

Hostemark remains in Hals Sønderskov.

Because of the summer holidays the next update of the GPS-tracks will be in the beginning of August.

Start June 2017

Except a recent trip Høstemark Skov between the 1st and 5th of June, Hostemark has remained in Hals Sønderskov in the latest period.

Tofte is still on the move. From Nejsum Hede it flew north and stayed just south of Lendum and in Børglumkloster Forest between the 6th and 20th of May. The signal then disappeared for a day. The 22nd of May Tofte reappeared in the area between Jerup Hede and Lyngshede (some 20 km north-east of Lemdum), where it since has stayed.

Start May 2017

Hostemark har been spending most of its time in Hals Sønderskov, which has remained its primary habitat since Septmber 2016. Hostemark still makes regular visits to Lille Vildmose, and at the 18th of April it made a one-day visit to Portlandsmosen. From the 22nd – 24th of April it flew South to the Southern part of Tofte Skov, before returning to Hals Sønderskov where is has stayed from the 25th of April – 3rd of May.

Tofte remained stationary in the Try Enge area until the 22nd of April, where it flew East to Smalby and Melholt. From the 25th – 29th of April it stayed in Melholtgård Skov and at the 30th of April it flew North via. Dronninglund Storskov towards Pajhede Skov and Nymølle Plantage. Tofte then continued East and from the 1st – 3rd of May it has stayed in an area between Nejsum Skov and Voers Å. An area with only smaller patches of forest (3 – 6 ha) surrounded by farmland.

Start Arpil 2017

In the last month, Hostemark has remained quite steady in Hals Sønderskov. Between the 20th and 23rd of March it made a short round-trip; first to Hals Nørreskov, Hals Mose and Vesterhede, then onwards to Høstermark Skov and Tofte Sø before returning to Hals Sønderskov. Since then it has made a few visits to Egense, Mou and Høstemark Skov, but Hals Sønderskov remains its primary habitat. 

Tofte reappeared in Ormholt Skov near Thorshøj at the 8th of March. From here it has flew south passing Dronninglund Storskov to Try Enge and the area between Vester Aslund Plantage and Gettrup Skov, where it stayed until the 23rd of March. It then flew east and stayed just North of Hals Mose for a couple of days. With Hostemark in Hals Sønderskov, the two eagles were only 7km apart at that point. Tofte then returned to Try Enge via. Mel Holtgård Skov.

Start March 2017

Hostemark still spends most of its time in Hals Sønderskov, though it has made a few trips to Høstemark skov, Hals Nørreskov and Koldkær. The tag sent a full dataset except the days between the 5th and 9th of February. Tofte has been flying north. From Gettrup Skov it flew northwest to Holtegård Plantage. From there it continued north to Dronninglund Storskov and Skarpholt Plantage, and by end February it reached the area between Ørnedalen, west of Sæby, and Skrolhøj, south of Karup. We did not receive data from Tofte between the 1st and 7th of March.

Mid January 2017:

The two young eagles met each other briefly in the area North of Hals Mose on the 17 December. Subsequently, they went in different directions and Hostemark flew back to stay in Hals Sønderskov, interrupted by a trip down to Mariager Fjord. Tofte flew to the eastern part of Bolle enge and Gettrup Skov, but due to low battery level we are now only receiving irregular transmissions from Tofte.

Mid December 2016:

Hostemark has left Hals Sønderskov and is now just north of Hals Mose. Tofte is still in the farmland north of Hals Mose, and the two birds are now only three kilometres apart.

Mid November 2016:

Hostemark is still in Hals Sønderskov, where it has been for 3 months now, only interrupted by a few short trips to Tofte Skov, Høstemark Skov and Store Vildmose. Tofte left the farmland area south of Bolle Enge, and moved to Hals Mose and farmland north of here. 

Mid October 2016:

Hostemark stayed in Hals Sønderskov, only interrupted by two short trips to Tofte Skov and Store Vildmose. Tofte left the area around Råbjerg Mose after 1½ month here. Since the end of September it has been in a farmland area south of Bolle Enge, still in northern Jutland.

Mid September 2016:

Hostemark left Lille Vildmose and moved to Hals Sønderskov where it has stayed for four weeks now. Tofte left the Skagen Peninsula after three months, but it only moved a short distance south and has been staying in an area just west of Råbjerg Mose.

Mid August 2016:

Hostemark has returned to Lille Vildmose once again. Tofte is still in the same very small area at Skagen Peninsula.

Mid July 2016:

Hostemark left Lille Vildmose again and stayed in an area south of Grindsted that it also visited in both early and mid May. After a month it moved to northern Djursland, where it currently is. Tofte stayed at Skagen Peninsula, all the time within a very small area at Hulsig Hede.

Late May 2016:

Hostemark left Lille Vildmose to tour around central and northwestern Jutland only to go back to Lille Vildmose. Tofte went quickly through all of Jutland to reach the Skagen Peninsula. It was seen by birdwatchers at “Flagbakken” near the tip of the peninsula, before it moved a little further south and stopped.

Early May 2016:

After coming back to Denmark Hostemark took a trip around most of Funen before going back to Jutland and in a quick pace back to its origin in Lille Vildmose. Tofte is also back in Denmark now, crossing Flensborg Fjord in almost the exact same place as Hostemark followed by a swift migration up through Jutland. 

April 2016:
Hostemark has started moving north and crossed the border into Denmark after nearly six months in Germany. It crossed Flensborg Fjord and is currently stationary east of Christiansfeld. After five months near Wittensee, Tofte has moved 20 km north and might also be on its way back to Denmark.

March 2016:

Both birds are in northern Germany. Hostemark has started exploring a new area east of Kiel near the lake Selenter See. Tofte has remained near lake Wittensee.

February 2016:

Tofte is spending her time near lake Wittensee, while Hostemark is further north in the areas of Winnemark og Waabs. The gps signals have picked up and are now sending data back more frequently. The last couple of weeks of more sporadic data,  was most likely due to insufficient solar panel recharging

October-November 2015:
The birds fly south through Jutland to Germany in different pace and along seperate routes. They seemed to join up in the same area between Sleswig and Rendsburg.

October 14th 2015:
Both birds leave their home territory. Hostemark may have attracted Tofte to leave as the birds flew together for the first 5 km.

June-October 2015:
The eagles stay almost exclusively within the forest in their home territory.