A golden eagle from the Raptor Rehabilitation Center.
The Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) is one of the best known birds of prey in the Northern Hemisphere. Like all eagles, it belongs to the family Accipitridae. Once widespread across theHolarctic, it has disappeared from many of the more heavily populated areas. Despite being extirpated from or uncommon in some its former range, the species is still fairly ubiquitous, being present in Eurasia, North America, and parts of Africa. The nesting density for a breeding population near Livermore, California and the Altamont Pass Wind Farm is among the highest in the world for Golden Eagles. These birds are dark brown, with lighter golden-brown plumage on their heads and necks.Golden Eagles use their agility and speed combined with extremely powerful talons to snatch up a variety of prey, including rabbits, marmots, ground squirrels, and large mammals such asfoxes and young ungulates. They will also eat carrion if live prey is scarce, as well as reptiles. Birds, including large species up to the size of swans and cranes have also been recorded as prey. For centuries, this species has been one of the most highly regarded birds used in falconry, with the Eurasian subspecies having been used to hunt and kill unnatural, dangerous prey such as Gray Wolves (Canis lupus) in some native communities. Due to their hunting prowess, the Golden Eagle is regarded with great mystic reverence in some ancient, tribal cultures.Golden Eagles maintain territories that may be as large as 155 km2 (60 sq mi). They are monogamous and may remain together for several years or possibly for life. Golden Eagles nest in high places including cliffs, trees, or human structures such as telephone poles. They build huge nests to which they may return for several breeding years. Females lay from one to four eggs, and both parents incubate them for 40 to 45 days. Typically, one or two young survive to fledge in about three months. (via Wikipedia)
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