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Golden Eagle

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Is the Golden Eagle right for you?

Species group:

Other common names:

Scientific name: Aquila chrysaetos

The basics:
The Golden Eagle may be the ultimate challenge for many falconers. There's a romance associated with the image of a nomad in central Asia, perhaps Mongolia, working with an eagle to bring down a fox or even a wolf. However, you had better be prepared to be dedicated to your sport if you want to contribute to the preservation of this ancient tradition. Training and managing a large, spirited bird of prey like the Golden Eagle is not a game.

This is the same species famous in North America as the national bird of Mexico. Indeed, the Golden Eagle can be found over a wide area of the northern hemisphere, with a range that includes North America, Eurasia, and northern Africa, but each pair demands a large territory, so the overall population isn't terribly huge and it's always a special day when you spot one in the wild.

Because of the licensing and expertise required to be a responsible owner of a bird of prey, the following information is offered only as a hint of what you will need to learn to work with Golden Eagles. There is no substitute for hands-on training, which we strongly recommend that you pursue before trying to acquire any bird of prey.

Appearance:
A large dark eagle. The adults have a noticeable golden patch on the nape of the neck. There are several subspecies and some variation in size, but we've quoted the averages for North American birds to give you the general idea.

Weight:
4,500 grams (10 lbs.)

Average size:
77 centimeters (30 inches)

Lifespan:
30+ years

Behavior / temperament:
The Golden Eagle is best suited for flying and hunting over wide open spaces, which can make them a real challenge for the falconer in a crowded world. They are high performance birds, with the ability to dive onto prey at speeds of up to 150 miles per hour. Learn from a master falconer, and get hands-on experience to avoid injuring yourself or your eagle.

Housing:
Golden Eagles are overall hardy birds, but all Eagles may be susceptible to mosquito-borne West Nile Disease. Never allow standing water to collect near the aviary.

Diet:
The Golden Eagle is a carnivore that can take a surprising variety of live prey, but the wild diet tends to be heavily focused on mammal prey like rabbits, hares, marmots, and ground squirrels.You will need a dependable supply of such items to keep your bird healthy. You should also provide clean water for drinking and bathing.

Written by Elaine Radford

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