We used satellite telemetry locations accurate within 1 km to identify migration routes and stopover sites of 54 migratory sub-adult Bald Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) hatched in Florida from 1997 to 2001. We measured number of days traveled during migration, path of migration, stopover time and locations, and distance traveled to and from winter and summer areas for each eagle (1–5 years old). Eagles used both Coastal Plain (n = 24) and Appalachian Mountain (n = 26) routes on their first migration north. Mountain migrants traveled farther (x̄ = 2,112 km; 95% CI: 1,815–2,410) than coastal migrants (x̄ = 1,397 km; 95% CI: 1,087–1,706). Eagles changed between migration routes less often on northbound and southbound movements as they matured (χ2 = 13.22, df = 2, P < 0.001). One-year-old eagles changed routes between yearly spring and fall migrations 57% of the time, 2-year-olds 30%, and 3–5-year-olds changed only 17% of the time. About half (n = 25, 46%) used stopovers during migration and stayed 6–31 days (x̄ = 14.8 days; 95% CI: 12.8–16.8). We recommend that migratory stopover site locations be added to GIS data bases for improving conservation of Bald Eagles in the eastern United States.
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Vol. 120 • No. 2