New research suggests that golden eagles may be more disturbed by people recreating near their nests than by energy development.
Charles Preston is in charge of the study, which is monitoring eagles in the Bighorn Basin. He says eagles didn’t alter their nesting habits when oil and gas wells moved in, but he says an increase in people riding ATVs, target shooting, and hiking did seem to have an effect on the birds.
“The indications that we have so far are that the eagles may go ahead and continue that year – not abandon the nests that year – but they won’t come back … the following year or even a couple of years beyond,” Preston said.
He added that the results are still preliminary. The study will continue for at least one more year.