This Beautiful Golden Eagle eagle is named for its golden brown plumage, with head and nape feathers are a little slightly lighter, golden color. The golden eagle is between 26-33 inches in height, the eagle has a wingspan of 78 inches (over 7 feet long) and weighs 3.2 to 6.4 kg. Adults have a bill which is a bit smaller and darker than that of other eagle, which include the bald eagle. The immature golden eagle’s in flight can be recognized from the immature bald eagle by the presence of distinct white patches on the under-wing and by a large white tail with dark band. The most notable field mark at any age distinguishing these two eagles, should you be in a position to see it, is the presence of feathers on the legs of golden eagles all the way down to the toes while the bald eagle has a considerable amount of the leg showing. Its favored prey food include rodents, birds, rabbits, and reptiles, as well as carrion. They have also been known to take small sheep and other small farm animals.
Life and the History of these eagle’s
The golden eagle is a long-lived bird, with a life span believed to be around 30 years or even more. It is also known that a pair of eagle’s mate for life and defends a large selected territory against other golden eagles to protect there young from starving. Both the male and female help in building the nest, occasionally in a tree but more often on a cliff ledge, commonly with the protection of an overhanging tree or rock so they have shelter. The nest is made of large sticks and branches and often contains aromatic leaves which may serve to deter insects and other small pests. Since the same nest may be used and added to almost every year, So as you can imagine theses nests can become very large due to the birds adding to them.
The birds nest usually of 1 or 2 sometimes but rarely 3 eggs which hatch after an incubation period of 34-45 days. Eaglets fledge in 65-75 days. The male provides some help with incubation, but he is the major food provider during incubation and chick rearing. Young reach sexual maturity and obtain adult coloration in most cases at 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 large plains of the western United States, and are fairly common in our western states, Alaska and western Canada. Never abundant in the eastern U. S., this species is now virtually extirpated as a breeding bird east of the Mississippi River. Golden eagles once nested at no more than a few or so 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 they are also protected here, as evidenced by hundreds of golden eagles appearing during the fall and spring migrations in the eastern U. S. Preferred habitats include generally open areas, 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 1950’s, an estimated 20,000 eagles were destroyed by ranchers and farmers, particularly sheep farmers who perceived them to be a major threat to there livestock. In the north eastern states, remnant populations declined drastically to almost distinction. Although sightings occur every year in New York, most are during migration. A 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 departs every spring to return the next fall. The reasons for the decline of this species in the east are not clear. Various factors seem to be involved, including shooting, accidental trapping, human disturbance at nest sites, posishing, loss of essential open hunting habitat due to succession and fire control, and possibly pesticide contamination (especially by DDT).and also construction and building works.
Hacking, a technique used successfully in New York to restore the bald eagle, has been considered for golden eagle’s, but has not been pursued due to the uncertainty of why golden eagles disappeared from New York and whether these conditions still remain. Tracking of golden eagle’s is being conducted in a few south eastern states during the 1990’s and latter and at least three pair’s has nested in there in recent years.