The Danish Golden Eagle project – University of Copenhagen

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On this page, you can follow the movements of two Danish golden eagles. We call them 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 (yellow) was born in May in Tofte Forest, Jutland, Denmark.

Current status (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.

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 34 juveniles have successfully fledged. Of these, 15 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,

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