When anyone thinks of birds of prey, the image they have in their head is undoubtedly an Eagle. These magnificent raptors are the quintessential bird of prey. Eagles have broad squared off wings which they use to great effect making them some of the most spectacular flyers of all the bird species.

Eagles can fly for hours at a time and can travel huge distances with hardly any effort. Although they do not have the agility and explosive speed of the hawks or the velocity of the falcons they are fantastic hunters and extremely powerful. Their talons can exert huge amounts of crushing power and their beaks are designed to slice through flesh like butter.

The Bald Eagle is the symbol of America and the golden eagle is also one of the most recognisable and well known birds of prey in the animal kingdom. Eagles are found in nearly every continent in the world and have adapted to many different terrains and ecosystems. The prey eagles take in the wild is very dependent on the geographical region that they are in and the prey that is available at the time of year. Eagles, however have been recorded taking a huge variety of prey including large amounts of mammals, reptiles, fish, amphibians and birds including other raptors and owls.

All over the world these magnificent predators are respected and revered. The Golden Eagle is flown globally by many experienced falconers, they are flown at a large variety of prey including rabbits, hares, foxes, wolves and deer. Eagles are harder to train than the buteos in falconry and are generally stubborn and moody. They can however be wonderful companions and can live a long time giving the relationship between a falconer and his eagle time to develop and grow into a great hunting partnership.

Other eagles often flown (but not necessarily used for hunting) in falconry are; Bald Eagles, Short toed Eagles, Indian Tawny Eagles, Steppe Eagles, African Black Eagles, Imperial Eagles, African Hawks Eagles and Crowned Hawk Eagles. There are dangers involved in training an eagle, the Eagle family are generally very large and powerful birds and, coupled with the fact that they can be very moody at times this can result in very serious injuries.

On no account should anyone that is inexperienced in falconry take on an eagle as a first bird. Many years experience is absolutely necessary for this genus. If it is trained well however, flying an eagle is one of the pinnacles of falconry and watching one of these beautiful birds flying in its natural state is one of the great pleasures and should not be missed!

Written by Max Gregor