The video segments will appear in the Draper Natural History Museum's permanent exhibit, "Monarch of the Skies: The Golden Eagle in Greater Yellowstone and the American West." The Draper is one of five museums housed within the internationally acclaimed Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming.
Video of two eaglets removed from their nest for leg banding, and interviews with Robbie Knight and Steve Slater were filmed April 30 at Dugway. Knight, Dugway's natural resources manager; and Slater, science director for Hawkwatch International, a private organization based in Salt Lake City, have studied eagles on Dugway and the adjoining Air Force's Utah Test and Training Range for 10 years.
Initially, the study was funded by the Department of Defense's Legacy Resources Program; currently, it is funded by the Army's Installation Management Command. Since its inception, research partners have been the Bureau of Land Management, and the Air Force's 2.5-million acre Utah Test and Training Range that abuts Dugway's 800,000 acres.
The April 30 video was taken by brothers Peter and Steve Wille for Chase Studio, a provider of museum exhibits based in Missouri. The Draper museum exhibit will profile the adaptive golden eagle in five diverse environments across the nation.
"There are different reasons to highlight these areas because they're ecologically distinct and different," Knight said.
Nesting sites at Dugway are barred from any vehicle, testing, training or aerial activities. Roads and maps in the testing area are well-marked to keep the unaware out.
Protecting the environment and wildlife, while still accommodating mission testing, is a point of pride for Knight.
"We've had some big test programs on Dugway over the past five years, which professionally have been very complex and challenging to support, but we have nailed mission support on every single program without affecting the eagles," Knight said. "We're good stewards of the environment while supporting the critical test and evaluation mission, and it's making a difference on the West Desert."
This science and management approach is so critical that the Draper Museum recognized how much the 10-year study has learned about golden eagles, and contacted Knight and Slater to use the study in its exhibit.
The permanent exhibit will open June 10 with recreated sandstone cliffs and other habitats, video, photography, taxidermy mounts, models, Native American culture, rock art and man's long use of the golden eagle to hunt other birds. For more information visit the Monarch of the Skies information webpage at https://centerofthewest.org/explore/greater-yellowstone-natural-history/exhibits/monarch-of-the-skies/