Golden Eagle Facts and Information

This Beautiful Golden Eagle is named for its golden brown plumage, with the feathers on the head and nape being a bit lighter, golden in color. The golden eagle stands between 26 and 33 inches tall, the eagle has a wingspan of 78 inches (over 7 feet long) and weighs from 3.2 to 6.4 kg. Adults have a bill that is slightly smaller and darker than that of other eagles, which includes the bald eagle. The immature golden eagle in flight can be distinguished from the immature bald eagle by the presence of distinct white spots on the underside of the wing and by a large white tail with a dark band. The most notable field mark at any age that distinguishes these two eagles, if you can see it, is the presence of feathers on the golden eagles’ feet down to the toes, while the bald eagle has an amount considerable feathers. showing leg. Their favorite prey items include rodents, birds, rabbits, and reptiles, as well as carrion. They have also been known to take small sheep and other small farm animals.

The life and history of these eagles

The golden eagle is a long-lived bird, with a life expectancy that is believed to be around 30 years or even more. A pair of eagles have also been known to mate for life and defend a large selected territory against other golden eagles to protect their young from starvation. Both male and female help build the nest, occasionally in a tree, but more often on the edge of a cliff, commonly with the protection of a tree or overhanging rock for shelter. The nest is made of sticks and large branches and often contains scented leaves that can serve as a deterrent to insects and other small pests. Since the same nest can be used and added to almost every year, as you can imagine, these nests can become very large as birds add to them.

Birds typically nest with 1 or 2, sometimes but rarely 3 eggs, which hatch after an incubation period of 34–45 days. The harriers fledge in 65-75 days. The male provides some help with incubation, but is the main provider of food during incubation and raising the chicks. The young reach sexual maturity and attain adult coloration in most cases around 5 years of age.

Habitat is very important

The golden eagle is seen worldwide throughout the northern hemisphere. Golden eagles are typically associated with the great plains of the western United States and are quite common in our western states, Alaska, and western Canada. This species, never abundant in the eastern US, is now virtually extirpated as a breeding bird east of the Mississippi River. Golden eagles once nested in no more than a few sites in the Adirondacks of New York, in Maine, and in New Hampshire. They are believed to still nest in large numbers in eastern Canada and are protected here as well, as evidenced by the hundreds of golden eagles that appear during fall and spring migrations in the eastern US. Preferred habitats include areas generally open, mountains, grasslands and deserts. . The golden eagle feeds primarily on live mammals, such as ground squirrels and rabbits, and other small animals found in their preferred upland habitats. In winter they will feed on carrion and waterfowl in the east.


Golden eagles have been protected in the United States since 1963. During the 1950s, ranchers and farmers, particularly sheep farmers, killed an estimated 20,000 eagles, considering them a major threat to livestock. In the northeastern states, the remnant populations were drastically reduced until they were almost indistinguishable. Although sightings occur every year in New York, most are during migration. One nest was built in the winter of 1992-93 by a wintering pair in southeastern New York, but has never been used as the pair leave each spring to return the following fall. The reasons for the decline of this species in the east are unclear. Several factors appear to be involved, including shooting, bycatch, human disturbance at nest sites, posing, loss of essential open game habitat due to fire succession and control, and possibly pesticide contamination (especially by DDT). and also construction and building works. .

Piracy, a technique used successfully in New York to restore the bald eagle, has been considered for the golden eagle, but not carried out due to uncertainty as to why New York golden eagles disappeared and whether these conditions they still hold. Golden eagle tracking is taking place in some southeastern states during the 1990s and later, and at least three pairs have nested there in recent years.

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