The number crunching involved in developing haematological reference interval values for golden eagle chicks continues for the Raptor Health Scotland Study. To determine reference values that will help us find out if a bird is sick and what is wrong with it, we need to look at a large group of healthy chicks and the variations within the readings of their blood parameters. Doing this with wild individuals is not always straight forward. The clinical examination to discern between healthy and not healthy wild golden eagle chicks happened mostly hanging from a rope whilst taking blood samples from an angry chick. The decision to include or eliminate blood values such as white blood cell count, or cholesterol from unhealthy individuals for what will be the guide for Scottish golden eagle chick reference values, happens whilst staring at a computer. Lately there has been a lot of the latter for Gaby Peniche.
Breaks from the computer work are taken up by post mortem work. Recent findings have helped expand our knowledge for what age wild golden eagles can reach. We received and processed, together with SRUC, what is now considered as the oldest wild golden eagle in the world having reached 33 years of age!: (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-45322932)
Watch our Halloween post mortem work special video: https://gaming.youtube.com/watch?v=f7G4xYcuznY
For more on the project’s work https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wqlt2LvNjjI