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Exploring the population dynamics of wintering bald eagles through long-term data

By Jeremy Davis

University of Washington Tacoma

This is an FMN participant modification of the TIEE module "Exploring the population dynamics of wintering bald eagles through long-term data" authored by Julie Beckstead, Alexandra N. Lagasse, and Scott R. Robinson in 2011.

Listed in Teaching Materials | resource by group ESA Data Discovery FMN (2017)

Version 1.0 - published on 14 Jun 2017 doi:10.25334/Q4059G - cite this

Licensed under CC Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International according to these terms

Adapted from: Exploring the population dynamics of wintering bald eagles through long-term data v 1.0



The module and supplements were implemented at the University of Washington Tacoma by Jeremy Michael Davis. 

  • Course: TESC 332. Conservation Biology in Practice
  • Course Level: This course is currently being transitioned to the 400 level.  Students are expected to be able to work with Excel with minimal instruction.  Most were familiar with the basic ideas of regression analyses, but had only completed them with a full set of instructions.
  • Instructional Setting: Lab & Lecture
  • Implementation Timeframe: One 2.5 hour session followed by independent work

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I created a sort of hybrid approach.  I pre-tested two ideas, one using a regression approach, and one with an ANOVA.  This allowed the students to become familiar with the dataset, and start thinking about potential analyses for their final projects.  About half of the students chose to use the eagle data for their final projects.  In my favorite project, the student used NOAA data to get nationwide yearly temperatures, and then explored the relationship between winter bald eagle numbers and temperature at 2 northern sites (Idaho and Washington), and 2 southern sites (Texas and Arizona).  
As she predicted, based on the hypothesis that eagles only fly so far south as they need to reach a particular temperature, she found that temperature had no impact on northern site numbers, but a strong negative impact on southern site numbers.

ESA Data Discovery FMN (2017)

ESA Data Discovery FMN (2017) group image

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