If you happen to be hiking around the mountains this fall, you may be lucky enough to spot a golden eagle soaring overhead. Golden eagles are much more common in the western part of the country where they range from Alaska, south to Mexico. However, there are some populations that nest in the eastern Canadian Provinces and Maine that sometimes move south along the Appalachian Mountains as winter approaches. Golden eagles are large birds, the size of bald eagles and turkey vultures. They can have a 6’ – 7’ foot wingspan and weigh 10 – 12 pounds at maturity. The golden eagle has a brown body with a golden sheen to its head and neck. Preferring open land, they can be seen around dessert, scrubland, prairie, marshland, rivers, mountains, and cliffs. The golden eagle tends to be a predator, not a scavenger. This bird hunts rabbits, squirrels, small mammals, reptiles, fish, and birds. Golden eagles have been known to target small deer, as well as fox. The eagle soars high in the sky on air currents where it can detect unsuspecting prey on the ground, and swoop down to grab them in their large, powerful talons. Attaining speeds of 150 miles per hour when it is swooping down after prey, it is one of the swiftest of all birds. This big, fast bird is a very formidable predator. Golden eagles home range can be up to 100 miles or more; some migrate, while others do not. The golden eagle has a very- far reaching range, and they can be found across North America, Europe, and parts of Asia. This bird does not coexist with humans very well— you are more likely to see them in the more desolate areas where wide open spaces persist.
Article by FCFCDB
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Nature note for 1/2/21