Golden Eagle - Calgary Zoo - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Golden Eagle eaglets on the nest. Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Golden Eagle - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image Golden Eagle - Photo Copyright Ward Cameron 2003 - Click to view a larger image  
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Golden Eagle
Aquila chrysaetos

Hawks, Eagles and Falcons
Hawk Family (Accipitridae)

Size: Length: 76-104 cm Wingspan: 200-230 cm

Description: Golden eagles are huge, and entirely dark in colour. The area around the head and nape has a golden tint. The tail is banded with light and dark bands with a thick dark terminal band. The feet are heavily feathered. Immature golden eagles are lighter. The base of the primaries and the base of the tail show patches of white. This will darken with age.

Similar Species: Immature bald eagles may resemble golden eagles, but lack the golden tinge to the head, as well as the heavy feathering on the feet.

Range: Golden eagles are more widespread than bald eagles, but equally uncommon. They are found across much of Canada and the United States. They are an uncommon sighting throughout the Canadian and American Rockies. In recent years, a previously unknown migration route was discovered that runs parallel with the front ranges, passing directly over the communities of Banff and Canmore, Alberta.

Habitat: Unlike the bald eagle, the golden eagle is often found well away from water. They are often seen in open areas in the subalpine and alpine.

Diet: Golden eagles are excellent hunters, often soaring high above the ground before dropping into a sharp stoop to capture unsuspecting ground squirrels, grouse, marmots and occasionally, young mountain goat kids. They will also feed upon carrion.

Nesting: Golden eagles prefer to nest on rocky ledges and outcrops, but will occasionally build their nests in trees. Ledge nests tend to be thin, with tree nests large and bulkier. They lay their eggs early, often in February in the south, and up to May in the northern parts of their range. The female lays 2 white eggs, blotched with brown. The female incubates the eggs, which hatch after 43-45 days. The eaglets are semi-altricial and downy. The female cares for the eaglets, but the younger nestling will usually die. The male supplies food for the female to feed the eaglets, until around 40 days when the eaglets can feed themselves. They fly at 63-70 days, but it will take several weeks for their flying strength to build.

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All Material Ward Cameron 2005



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