A review of stopover behavior in birds revealed that most migrate as quickly as fuel reserves allowed (i.e., were time minimizers). This pattern stemmed from studies conducted almost exclusively on small-bodied species (< 50 g), which migrate primarily by flapping flight. However, body size has a significant effect on metabolic rate and costs of locomotion, two characteristics with direct relevance to migration and stopover behavior. I examined the autumn stopover behavior of a large-bodied species (4–5.5 kg) that migrates by soaring. I captured and radio-tagged 68 Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) at Hauser Reservoir, Montana from 1992–1994. After capture, juveniles stayed at the stopover site longer than older eagles. Body condition was similar between the two age groups and did not correlate with post capture residence time. Consumption rates of eagles were not age-specific. Juvenile and 1.5-year old eagles had similar consumption rates and body condition, but differed in residence times, which suggested that experience modified stopover behavior. Stopover behavior of Bald Eagles supported the hypothesis that large species are less sensitive than small species to body condition and consumption rates during migration.
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