Golden eagles are a key species and a powerful predator in the sagebrush-steppe ecosystem of Wyoming’s Bighorn Basin. At the June Draper Natural History Museum Lunchtime Expedition, speaker Brian Woodbridge reminds us that golden eagles are found far and wide in the West in diverse habitats—some very different from the Basin.
“Golden eagles occupy a range of habitats in the American West,” says Woodbridge, “ranging from the oak savanna in California’s Coast ranges to creosote bush in the Mojave Desert.” In each landscape, eagles rely on a unique set of resources and are affected by local land use and threats, making wildlife management and golden eagle conservation a complex undertaking.
Woodbridge discusses the challenges in a talk titled From Sagebrush Sea to Pacific Ocean: Golden Eagle Conservation in the Big Picture. The free lecture takes place Thursday, June 7, 12:15 p.m. in the Center of the West’s Coe Auditorium.
Woodbridge leads the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Western Golden Eagle Team. “We are working with a host of collaborators to improve our understanding of this apex predator in the West,” he says, “and are seeking innovative ways to integrate the conservation of golden eagles into working landscapes.”
The topic of the golden eagle is a timely one, anticipating the June 10 opening of the Draper Museum’s new, interdisciplinary exhibition, Monarch of the Skies: The Golden Eagle in Greater Yellowstone and the American West. The exhibition integrates current scientific research on golden eagles, eagle-related ethnographic materials, and Plains Indian cultural associations with the golden eagle and its environment over time.
A wildlife ecologist and raptor biologist, Woodbridge studies the ecology of raptor populations and the influences of human activities on their habitats. During his 35-year career with the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Woodbridge has conducted research on raptors—northern goshawks and spotted owls in the Pacific Northwest, Swainson’s hawks in the Great Basin and Argentina, and tropical forest raptors in Central America—always working closely with stakeholders to integrate research results into sound land management planning.
Woodbridge and the Western Golden Eagle Team work to develop conservation strategies for golden eagles and energy development in the western United States. He has authored more than forty research publications dealing with the ecology and management of raptors in forest and rangeland ecosystems.
The next Lunchtime Expedition talk continues July 5 with speaker Gary Beauvais of the Wyoming Natural Diversity Database. The lecture series is organized by the Draper Natural History Museum and supported in part by Sage Creek Ranch and the Nancy-Carroll Draper Foundation.
Learn more about the Center’s natural science programs at centerofthewest.org/explore/greater-yellowstone-natural-history, or contact Bonnie Smith at [email protected] or 307-578-4020. Find the Center’s full calendar of events at centerofthewest.org/calendar.
Since 1917, the award-winning Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming, has devoted itself to sharing the story of the authentic American West. The Center is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution. For more information, visit centerofthewest.org or the Center’s Facebook page. #100YearsMore #100YearsMore