About Golden Eagles
But Golden Eagles look a lot like immature Bald Eagles, from their huge size and 80-inch wingspan to their dark plumage. Golden Eagles have feet adapted to catching their prey on the ground. Their legs are well-feathered, unlike the legs of Bald Eagles. (Why do you think Bald Eagles have no feathers on their legs?) Golden Eagles have a slightly smaller bill than Bald Eagles, more in the proportions of a large hawk's beak than the oversized beak of a fishing eagle. From the tip of their beak to the tip of their tail, a Golden Eagle is about 30 inches long and a Bald Eagle is about 31 inches. But a Golden Eagle very slightly outweighs the Bald, averaging about 10 pounds to the Bald Eagle's 9.5 pounds.
Try to make a list of ways that Golden Eagles are different from Bald Eagles, and ways that they are similar. How many of these differences might be due to their different diets?
The Golden Eagle's scientific name is Aquila chrysaetos,
which literally means "Eagle golden-eagle." Did you know that
if you say a person has "aquiline" features that means the person
reminds you of an eagle? One writer wrote of a character's hard, penetrating
aquiline eye. And a person with an aquiline nose has a long, somewhat
curved nose like an eagle's beak.
Habitat and Distribution
In England and Europe, where long ago shooting wiped out many species except in the most inaccessible areas, these magnificent eagles are associated with wild and forbidding mountains-the kind of habitat Alfred, Lord Tennyson may have been thinking of when he wrote his famous poem, "The Eagle," in 1851:
no birds even approach the speed of sound, Golden Eagles can plunge toward
their prey at very high speeds. In 1968, two scientists estimated the
speed of a Golden Eagle in a dive at between 150 and 200 miles per hour,
but this high speed has never been verified. One Golden Eagle in Scotland
was clocked at 120 miles per hour while being chased by a Peregrine Falcon.
Unlike Golden Eagles, Bald Eagles aren't particularly good at high speed
flying. Why do you think this is?
and migration of Golden Eagles is not well understood. Dozens are counted
in fall and spring flying along Lake Superior, and no one really understands
where these birds are coming from, nor where they are going. This is why
Peter Nye's opportunity to learn from a Golden Eagle with a radio transmitter
is so exciting! Read about his Golden
Eagle tracking project!
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