Range: Native to the entire northern hemisphere; the most adaptable and widespread of all the eagles in the world. In the United States, they are more out west and many nest in Utah.
Habitat: Large, open areas and mountain cliffs.
Reproduction: Golden eagles will nest in trees, but prefer cliffs. Like all eagles, they mate for life, only choosing another if their mate dies. The pair will use the same nest site every year. The female lays one to three eggs, usually two. Both parents incubate the eggs and raise the young. After about 35 days of incubation, they hatch and grow rapidly. They are full grown and fledge at 10-12 weeks of age. Like most raptors, only 20% of the fledglings will survive the first year.
Longevity: 20-25 years in the wild, 40-50 years in captivity.
Diet: Mostly jackrabbits, but will also hunt other mammals and birds. They are very strong, and can occasionally take down very large prey, such as stranded deer in the snow, young mountain goats and sheep, badgers, and wolverines.
Seteweela arrived at Turtle Bay on Valentine’s Day 2014. She cannot fly as she is missing the tip of her right wing as it was severed off by a wind turbine. This is a common problem for migrating birds. Although wind power is a renewable resource, we need to find a way to make it safe for birds.
- The golden eagle and the bald eagle are the same size if comparing the same sex and the same geographical location. The two have very different body structures, giving the appearance of different size. In the same area they have the same wingspans and weights (6-8 ft, 6-16 lbs, in North America).
- Most raptors can only lift about half their weight. Although there have been sightings of golden eagles flying with such large prey, it is believed that they grabbed the prey at a high altitude and allowed gravity to help it glide down to its nest.
- This group of eagles gets the name “booted” eagle from the feathers that go all the way down the legs to the feet. Those large feet each have 1200 lbs per sq. in. crushing capacity.
- The golden eagle has been revered by more cultures than any other eagle. In North America, they are very important to many of the Native American cultures. The feathers of the eagle are said to carry the powers of the bird. Feathers called coop feathers are given for brave acts. Prayers are often sent to the “Great Spirit” on the wings of eagles. It is legal for Native Americans to have eagle feathers, however, they must have proper permits and receive them through the Bureau of Indian Affairs. We are not allowed to give out any feathers.