Panhandle Golden Eagles

In 1970 I found an active Golden Eagle nest and have been keeping up with them since.

Click here for the 1970 situation.
Click here for the 1984 situation.
Click here for the 2002 situation.


In 1970 there were six pairs nesting in the
upper Palo Duro canyon of the Texas panhandle.  By 1984 when Texas Parks and Wildlife did their state-wide breeding Golden Eagle survey there were 3 pairs still nesting there.  Due to greatly increased human activity in the area the nesting eagles continued to decline.  I spent a great deal of time and effort in the spring of 2002 using about 10 observation locations and a lot of equipment to get a reliable count and found only two pairs still nesting in the area.

Notice the inverse relationship of residences and roads to nesting eagles on the maps.  I have deliberately deleted the nest territories in 2002 as well as any nests which might be used currently for this website but you can still see the increase in roads and residences.  Note the new addition of Canoncita adjoining the bottom of the state park on the 2002 map. An additional new part of the park on the west side is not shown here but became the boundary some time between 1984 and 2002.

Pictures of nesting habitat
This picture shows cliffs which had four nests alternatively used by a pair of Golden Eagles that abandoned the area between 1970 and 1972.
This picture was taken from immediately above a nestsite used for 50 years but is now abandoned.
In the early 1970s a photo blind had been in use here to record the nesting habits of this pair. Recreational jeep tours, established  about the time the nest was abandoned pass within 50 yards of the nest remains.
This picture shows typical nest habitat.  One pair still nested in 2002 on distant cliffs seen here.

Sources for the eagle maps were my own old nest-site and breeding territory maps, Dan True, Dan True's books, various map layers from Texas Department of Transportation at three vintages, two vintages of satellite images, 1984 and 2002;  1995 digital ortho quarter quads, and processed DEMs for cliffs.  Doqqs and DEMs were from Texas Natural Resource Information System while the satellite images were from  EROS (USGS) and Texas Synergy respectively.