Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): Teryl G. Grubb; William W. Bowerman; Allen J. Bath; John P. Giesy; D. V. Chip Weseloh
    Date: 2003
    Source: Res. Pap. RMRS-RP-45. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 10 p.
    Publication Series: Research Paper (RP)
    Station: Rocky Mountain Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (510 B)


    Bayesian inference facilitated structured interpretation of a nonreplicated, experience-based survey of potential nesting habitat for bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) along the five Great Lakes shorelines. We developed a pattern recognition (PATREC) model of our aerial search image with six habitat attributes: (a) tree cover, (b) proximity and (c) type/amount of human disturbance, (d) potential foraging habitat/shoreline irregularity, and suitable trees for (e) perching and (f) nesting. Tree cover greater than 10 percent, human disturbance more than 0.8 km away, a ratio of total to linear shoreline distance greater than 2.0, and suitable perch and nest trees were prerequisite for good eagle habitat (having sufficient physical attributes for bald eagle nesting). The estimated probability of good habitat was high (96 percent) when all attributes were optimal, and nonexistent (0 percent) when none of the model attributes were present. Of the 117 active bald eagle nests along the Great Lakes shorelines in 1992, 82 percent were in habitat classified as good. While our PATREC model provides a method for consistent interpretation of subjective surveyor experience, it also facilitates future management of bald eagle nesting habitat along Great Lakes shorelines by providing insight into the number, type, and relative importance of key habitat attributes. This practical application of Bayesian inference demonstrates the technique's advantages for effectively incorporating available expertise, detailing model development processes, enabling exploratory simulations, and facilitating long-term ecosystem monitoring.

    Publication Notes

    • You may send email to to request a hard copy of this publication.
    • (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
    • We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.


    Grubb, Teryl G.; Bowerman, William W.; Bath, Allen J.; Giesy, John P.; Weseloh, D. V. Chip. 2003. Evaluating Great Lakes bald eagle nesting habitat with Bayesian inference. Res. Pap. RMRS-RP-45. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 10 p.


    Google Scholar


    aerial surveys, bald eagle, Bayesian inference, Great Lakes, habitat modeling, Haliaeetus leucocephalus, nesting habitat, pattern recognition

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page