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Golden Eagle, Aquila chrysaetos

Golden Eagle perched on a tree branch

Golden Eagles are majestic birds of prey renowned for their impressive size and wingspan, which can reach up to 2 meters. They inhabit mountainous regions, open grasslands, tundra, deserts, and woodland areas in both remote wilderness and semi-urban environments. They can be found in North America, Europe, Asia, and parts of Africa.

Golden Eagles are powerful hunters. They have keen eyesight, allowing them to spot prey from great distances. Golden Eagles are also known for their stooping hunting technique, where they rapidly descend from high altitudes to surprise their prey with precision and speed. Their diet primarily consists of small to medium-sized mammals, such as rabbits, hares, ground squirrels, marmots, and occasionally larger prey like foxes and young deer. They also feed on birds, reptiles, and they will scavenge for carrion.

Golden Eagles are solitary nesters, typically choosing remote locations away from humans. They often select cliff ledges, rocky outcrops, or large trees as nesting sites. They build large nests called eyries, constructed with sticks, grass, moss, and other available materials. Eyries are commonly found on high cliffs or in the sturdy branches of tall trees. They continuously add to the nest over the years, resulting in substantial structures, sometimes until the supporting tree collapses.

Golden Eagles typically lay 1 to 3 eggs, with an average clutch size of 2. Both the male and female share the responsibility of incubating the eggs, which lasts around 40 to 45 days. After hatching, the parents care for and feed the chicks, regurgitating food for their young until they fledge and leave the nest at around 70 to 90 days of age. During this period, they are still dependent on their parents for food and guidance as they develop their flight skills and hunting abilities.

Golden Eagles are known for their long-distance migrations. In areas with harsh winters and limited prey availability, they may migrate to more temperate regions or lower elevations. Their winter ranges vary depending on the populations, with some individuals traveling great distances to find suitable habitats and food sources.