Animals

Golden Eagle

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Golden Eagle

Aquila chrysaetos

History

Male: He flew into a barbed wire fence, and damaged the soft tissue of his right wing and chest. He also tore the ligaments in the wing and shoulder. He was transferred to us in 1998 and placed in the raptor aviary. In 2005 during a routine health exam it was discovered that he had bone cancer in the right wing; the tip of the wing was amputated to prevent the cancer from spreading.

Female: She was hit by a car. She sustained internal injuries, a fractured beak, and severe trauma to her right eye. Although she recovered from most of her injuries she is still blind in her right eye. She was transferred to us in 2000 and placed in the raptor aviary.

Fun Facts

The halux talon of a Golden Eagle is as long as a grizzly bear’s claw – approximately 3 inches long.

Birth Date

Male age is unknown, but because they can keep their juvenile feathers for up to five years he was estimated to be hatched in 1995.
Female age is unknown. She was found as an adult in December of 1999.

Diet in the Wild

Primarily small mammals such as rabbits and hares as well as larger rodents like rats. About 20% of their diet is made up of birds and reptiles. Occasionally they will eat carrion.

Diet at the Museum

Rats, chicks, quail, and rabbit.

Life Span

In the Wild: 20 to 30 years, but it is estimated that only 10% of wild-born eagles survive past five years.
In Captivity: Unknown – the oldest known lived 46 years.

Habitat

These eagles inhabit mountainous areas, canyons, shrublands, and grasslands. During the winter they are found in shrub-steppe vegetation, wetlands, river systems, and estuaries.

Range

Eurasia, North Africa, and North America.

Conservation Status:

No special status. The Golden Eagle is federally protected under the Bald Eagle Protection Act of 1962. Previous to this act, some 20,000 Golden Eagles were killed because they were thought to prey on sheep and goats. Many Golden Eagles have been electrocuted by power lines, caught in traps set for other animals, and poisoned by ranchers.