According to the Ecology Alaska website, one of the bald eagle researchers I photographed tagging bald eagles last fall, Rachel Wheat, was recently awarded a prestigious Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation. The award will fund her work tagging and tracking bald eagles for the next three years. Congratulations Rachel!
One of the things I thought interesting about her work last year was that she and others on her team funded their research in a novel, non-traditional way through the crowd-funding website, Kickstarter. I thought crowd funding research was an innovative idea when she told me about it. Also somewhat unusual, she and others on the Ecology Alaska team produce a website with detailed field reports on the progress of their research and what it is like doing field research in the wilds of Alaska.
RIGHT: Rachel Wheat, a graduate student at the University of California Santa Cruz, poses for a photo with bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) “4P” before releasing the bald eagle back into the wild. Wheat is conducting a migration study of the bald eagles that visit the Chilkat River for her doctoral dissertation. She hopes to learn how closely eagles track salmon availability across time and space. The bald eagles are being tracked using solar-powered GPS satellite transmitters (also known as a PTT – platform transmitter terminal) that attach to the backs of the eagles using a lightweight harness. A handmade leather hood is placed over the bald eagle’s eyes to keep the bird calm. Leather booties cover the bald eagle’s powerful talons to protect researchers during the process of taking measurements and attaching the GPS satellite transmitter.
Learn more about Wheat’s bald eagle research on the Ecology Alaska website.
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