Golden eagle research inspires documentary on raptors’ significance to a changing west
“Golden Eagles: Witnesses to a Changing West” focuses on research that Dr. Charles Preston started 14 years ago. Preston said the golden eagle is an icon of the American West and an indicator of environmental health.
“The West is changing very rapidly,” said Preston. “Whether it's energy development, agriculture, especially urban sprawl, residential sprawl, more and more of this big wide open landscape is being gobbled up.”
Preston said looking at eagle reproduction daily also showed fluctuations in the environment, like the populations of prey species and vegetation.
“It certainly has a great deal of ecological importance in terms of controlling prey populations,” said Preston. “Even as scavengers, they help control the spread of disease by scavenging rotting carcasses and such. So they have a huge role to play in the ecosystem.”
The documentary also explores the importance of the golden eagle to native people and other cultures around the world. It will air on Wyoming PBS on Wednesday, August 24 in the "Nature" time slot at 7 p.m. It will also repeat Sunday morning, August 28, at 9 a.m.