Golden eagles have primarily deep brown feathers with lighter, lustrous gold feathers around the back of the head and their neck area. They can be 33” to 38” long with a wingspan of 6’ to 7.5’, and weigh 6 to 15 lbs. This powerful eagle is the largest bird of prey in North America, and is the national bird of Mexico.
They live in open and semi-open country featuring native vegetation across most of the Northern Hemisphere. They avoid developed areas and uninterrupted stretches of forest. They can be found primarily in mountains up to 12,000 ft., canyonlands, rimrock terrain, and riverside cliffs and bluffs. They nest on cliffs and steep escarpments in grassland, chaparral, shrubland, forest and other vegetated areas.
Like most raptors, golden eagles are primarily solitary unless mated. If mated, they can be monogamous and remain with their mate for several years, if not for life. Single birds and pairs will engage in aerial play with objects such as sticks or dead prey, carrying them high into the sky, then dropping and retrieving them.
Meet our Residents
- Golden eagles are extremely swift and can dive upon their quarry at speeds of more than 150 mph!
- They have been seen attacking and killing full grown deer!
- Their nests are huge, averaging 5’ to 6’ wide and 2’ high, enclosing a bowl about 3’ wide and 2’ deep. The largest Golden Eagle nest on record was 20’ tall, 8.5’ wide!
Status In The Wild
Appears to have been stable over the last several decades, rating 10 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. The U.S. Bald and Golden Eagle Protection Act outlaws harming these birds, their eggs and their nests, but it’s estimated that more than 70% of recorded golden eagle deaths are attributable to human impact, either intentional or inadvertently. Some intentional examples are: trapping, shooting, poisoning. Inadvertent examples are: eating poisoned prey animals set out to control coyotes. Lead poisoning from ammunition consumed in hunter-shot prey. Most recorded deaths are from collisions with vehicles, wind turbines or from electrocution from power poles.