Auditory performance in bald eagles and red-tailed hawks: a comparative study of hearing in diurnal raptors

Jo Ann McGee, Peggy B. Nelson, Julia B. Ponder, Jeffrey Marr, Patrick Redig, Edward J. Walsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Collision with wind turbines is a conservation concern for eagles with population abundance implications. The development of acoustic alerting technologies to deter eagles from entering hazardous air spaces is a potentially significant mitigation strategy to diminish associated morbidity and mortality risks. As a prelude to the engineering of deterrence technologies, auditory function was assessed in bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), as well as in red-tailed hawks (Buteo jamaicensis). Auditory brainstem responses (ABRs) to a comprehensive battery of clicks and tone bursts varying in level and frequency were acquired to evaluate response thresholds, as well as suprathreshold response characteristics of wave I of the ABR, which represents the compound potential of the VIII cranial nerve. Sensitivity curves exhibited an asymmetric convex shape similar to those of other avian species, response latencies decreased exponentially with increasing stimulus level and response amplitudes grew with level in an orderly manner. Both species were responsive to a frequency band at least four octaves wide, with a most sensitive frequency of 2 kHz, and a high-frequency limit of approximately 5.7 kHz in bald eagles and 8 kHz in red-tailed hawks. Findings reported here provide a framework within which acoustic alerting signals might be developed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)793-811
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology A: Neuroethology, Sensory, Neural, and Behavioral Physiology
Volume205
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by the US Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) under the Wind Energy—Eagle Impact Minimization Technologies and Field Testing Opportunities, Award Number DE-EE0007881.

Funding Information:
The authors would like to acknowledge the essential contributions from Drs. Michelle Willette and Dana Franzen-Klein, Lori Arent, Drew Bickford, Andrew Byrne, Jamie Clark, Christopher Feist, Christopher Milliren, and The Raptor Center volunteers. This material is based upon work supported by the US Department of Energy?s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) under the Wind Energy?Eagle Impact Minimization Technologies and Field Testing Opportunities, Award Number DE-EE0007881.

Funding Information:
The authors would like to acknowledge the essential contributions from Drs. Michelle Willette and Dana Franzen-Klein, Lori Arent, Drew Bickford, Andrew Byrne, Jamie Clark, Christopher Feist, Christopher Milliren, and The Raptor Center volunteers. This material is based upon work supported by the US Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) under the Wind Energy—Eagle Impact Minimization Technologies and Field Testing Opportunities, Award Number DE-EE0007881.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.

Keywords

  • Auditory brainstem response
  • Eagles
  • Evoked potentials
  • Hawks
  • Hearing

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