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Golden Eagle

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Golden Eagle Bird

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The Golden Eagle can be found across a wide range of latitudes and environments in the Palearctic and northern Africa. The majority of Canada and Alaska, as well as the western half of the United States and northern and western Mexico, are part of its breeding range in North America. The majority of eagles that breed in northern Canada and Alaska's interior and north migrate thousands of kilometres to find their wintering grounds. When not on land, southern eagles migrate northward, latitudinal, or altitudinal. During the non-breeding season, Golden Eagles can be found in Mexico, every state in the United States, and southern Canada. It is most common in western North America, especially near open spaces with plenty of prey, cliffs or trees that provide nesting sites, and topography that creates updrafts that are necessary for flight. Recent research has revealed that the Golden Eagle is more common than previously believed in eastern North America, as well as in forested areas across the continent, and that young individuals may spend their summers in large numbers in northernmost North America's vast and productive wetlands.


The Golden Eagle, one of the world's largest predatory birds, is well-known in both modern and ancient human lore and history, inspiring respect, admiration, and, on rare occasions, fear and hatred. Humans kill Golden Eagles by trapping, firing, poisoning, electrocution, and colliding with infrastructure and automobiles, both deliberately and unintentionally. In addition, many traditional foraging and nesting environments are being encroached upon by urbanisation, energy production and transmission infrastructure building, agricultural expansion, and wildfires. Similarly, the Golden Eagle is supposed to face a slew of new threats as a result of the increasingly warming climate. According to recent modelling, some eagle populations are stable or even growing, but most North American nesting populations are decreasing or at or below carrying capacity, owing in part to anthropogenic mortality.


Most Golden Eagles do not establish a breeding territory until they reach the age of four. Once an individual establishes a territory, it appears to stay there throughout the nesting season, defending a territory that is typically 20–30 Sq.km in size, but may be much smaller or larger depending on location, habitat quality, and prey availability. Within their territories, this species builds and retains a large number of stick nests. As part of courtship, some of these are preserved and repaired on an annual basis. The nesting cycle can last as little as 5 months for migratory birds and as long as 12 months for non-migratory birds, including the post-fledging dependency period. Golden Eagle pairs have one to three young each year, with an individual having the ability to have several more over the course of its existence. Females may choose not to lay eggs in some years, particularly if prey is scarce. Each year's number of young is determined by a combination of weather and prey conditions.

Size, Shape and Colour Patterns

Golden eagles are one of North America's largest birds. The wings are similar to those of a Red-tailed Hawk, except they are larger. The head appears tiny from a distance, and the tail appears long, extending further behind than the head does in front. The back of the head and neck of adult Golden Eagles are dark brown with a golden sheen. Young birds have neatly established white patches at the base of the tail and in the wings for the first few years of their lives. Golden Eagles fly or glide with their wings raised into a slight "V" and their wingtip feathers spread out like fingers. They are usually found alone or in pairs. Soaring, flying low over the ground, or stalking from a perch, they catch prey on or near the ground.

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Habitat

The use of different environments by the Gldn Eagle varies over time and space, and is frequently linked to season, age, breeding status, and particular behaviours. At sea level, in the highest mountains, and at all intermediate elevations, the species can be found. The species is found in a variety of forested environments, including open grassland, desert, alpine, and shrub-steppe ecosystems (e.g., western North America, Scotland, central Asia, the Alps and Apennines) (e.g., eastern North America, Sweden, Japan). The fact that it often occurs near areas of high topographic relief is perhaps the most consistent habitat association (mountains, rolling hills). Even this connection isn't absolute, particularly during the non-breeding season, when wintering eagles can be found in more varied terrain wherever perches and prey are plentiful. The populated regions of northern Kazakhstan, Alaska's North Slope, and northern Quebec, for example, are strikingly flat. The species only appears in aquatic environments on rare occasions, and it appears to avoid crossing vast stretches of open water. It avoids densely populated areas, but some nest near to homes or other structures in California and Switzerland, and possibly elsewhere.

Movement and Migration of Golden Hawk Bird

After fledging, the Golden Eagle is extremely mobile throughout its existence. Almost all movement is achieved by flight, while individuals can walk for long distances. Thermal or orographic updrafts are used for flight, with flapping only used when absolutely necessary. While remarkably large numbers of birds are counted at some migration count sites, telemetry studies provide the majority of information on individual movements. Most of what we know about bird movement activity comes from North America and Europe, and we know a lot less about bird movement in Africa and Asia.


Non-migratory, partly migratory, or short-medium-long-distance migratory populations are all possible. Non-migratory island populations (e.g., the United Kingdom) are common, and birds prefer to remain on or near territories all year. Non-migratory mainland continental populations of birds can migrate over longer distances from territories more frequently than their island counterparts. Migrants may travel short distances (e.g., within Scandinavia) or extremely long distances (e.g., from northern Alaska and Canada to the southern United States and Mexico), and in either season, they may travel north-south or south-north.

Reproduction

Golden eagles are known to be life partners. In a courtship display, a breeding pair is formed. This courtship involves both members of the pair performing undulating displays, with the male bird picking up a piece of rock or a small stick and dropping it only to dive and catch it in mid-air three or more times. The female picks up a clump of earth, drops it, and collects it in the same way. Golden eagles create several eyries in their territories (preferring cliffs) and alternate their use for several years. The intense regularity of the nest spacing distinguishes their nesting areas. The timing of mating and egg-laying for golden eagles varies depending on where they live. Copulation lasts 10–20 seconds on average. Mating seems to take place 40–46 days before the first egg is laid. The golden eagle chick can be heard 15 hours before it hatches from inside the egg. There is no operation for about 27 hours after the first chip is broken off of the egg. The hatching activity picks up after this time, and the shell is broken apart in 35 hours. In 37 hours, the lady will be absolutely free. Chicks often lie down on the nest layer for the first 10 days. The eagles will preen on their second day, but their parents keep them warm by brooding until they are about 20 days old. The hatchlings grow quickly, reaching a weight of around 500 g in just ten days (1.1 lb). They also begin to sit up more at this age. Around the age of 20 days, the chicks begin standing, which becomes their primary role for the next 40 days. The whitish down lasts until the birds are about 25 days old, when it is eventually replaced by dark contour feathers that obliterate the down and give the birds a piebald appearance. After hatching, the adult male captures 80% of food items and 90% of food biomass and transports it to the nest. In Idaho, fledgling occurs between the ages of 66 and 75 days, while in Scotland, it occurs between the ages of 70 and 81 days. After fledging, the young may attempt to fly for the first time, jumping off and flying downward with a series of short, stiff wingbeats or being blown out of the nest while wing-flapping. The young eagles will take their first circling flight 18 to 20 days after fledging, but they will not be able to achieve height as quickly as their parents until 60 days after fledging. Young golden eagles were first seen hunting big prey 59 days after they fledged in Cumbria. The young were mostly independent of their parents 75 to 85 days after fledging. In general, breeding success appears to be highest where prey is plentiful.

Longevity

Golden eagles are long-lived birds in their natural habitat. The survival rate of raptorial birds increases with body size, with a 30–50 percent annual population loss rate in small falcons/accipiters, a 15–25 percent annual population loss rate in medium-sized hawks (e.g., Buteos or kites), and a 5% or less annual population loss rate in eagles and vultures. A bird banded in Sweden and rescued 32 years later was the oldest recorded wild golden eagle. In North America, the longest-lived wild golden eagle was 31 years and 8 months. A specimen in Europe, the longest-living recorded captive golden eagle, lived to be 46 years old. On the Scottish Isle of Skye, the adult annual survival rate is projected to be about 97.5 percent. When this is extrapolated into an approximate lifetime, the record for adult golden eagles in this region is 39 and a half years, which is possibly far too high an estimation. Juvenile eagle survival rates are typically much lower than adult eagle survival rates. 50% of golden eagles banded in the nest died by the time they were two and a half years old, and an estimated 75% died by the time they were five years old in the western Rocky Mountains. Based on traditional telemetry of 257 individuals near a wind turbine facility in west-central California, approximate survival rates for first-year eagles were 84 percent, 79 percent for 1 to 3 year olds and adult floaters, and 91 percent for breeders, with no difference in survival rates between sexes. Golden eagle migration populations may have lower survival rates. In their first 11 months, juvenile eagles from Denali National Park had a survival rate of 19–34 percent. Golden eagles in Germany have an average life expectancy of 13 years, based on a recorded 92.5 percent survival rate.

Natural Mortality

Natural causes of death are often defined in anecdotes. Golden eagles have been killed by rival predators or hunting mammalian carnivores on rare occasions, including attacks by wolverines, snow leopards, cougars, brown bears, and white-tailed eagles. The majority of competitive attacks that end in death happen at the talons of other golden eagles. Nestlings and fledglings are more likely than free-flying juveniles and adults to be killed by another predator. Golden eagle nests have been accused of being more often predated by other predators in areas where golden eagles are often threatened at the nest by humans. Jeff Watson believes that golden eagle eggs are rarely eaten by common ravens, but only when the parent eagles have abandoned their nesting attempt. There have been no recorded reports of other bird species preying on golden eagle nests. Golden eagles are sometimes killed by their prey in self-defense. A golden eagle was said to have died from the quills of a porcupine it had tried to capture in North America. A few reports of red deer trampling golden eagles to death have been recorded in Scotland, most likely as a result of a doe intercepting a bird attempting to kill a fawn. While generally outmatched by the predator, other large birds will sometimes put up a fight with a golden eagle. Both birds died from wounds suffered in the ensuing battle after a golden eagle tried to catch a great blue heron. A golden eagle died in Scotland after being "oiled" by a northern fulmar, a bird whose primary protection against predators is to disgorge an oily secretion that can impair the predator's ability to fly. Starvation is likely under-reported by natural causes of death. 11 of the 16 eagles that died in Denali National Park after hatching died of starvation. In Idaho, 55 percent of golden eagle deaths were likely due to natural causes, with 8 (26%) deaths due to unknown injuries, 3 (10%) deaths due to illness, and 6 (19%) deaths due to unknown causes. Just 6% of the 266 golden eagle deaths in Spain were due to unexplained causes that could not be linked to human activity. Eagles that consume diseased waterfowl contract avian cholera, which is caused by bacteria. In a study of wild golden eagles in Idaho, the protozoan Trichomonas sp. killed four fledglings. In Japan, researchers looked into a number of other diseases that cause golden eagle deaths. Two malignant tumours, one in the liver and one in the kidney, killed a captive eagle.

Status and Conservation

The golden eagle once inhabited a large portion of temperate Europe, North Asia, North America, North Africa, and Japan. Golden eagles have undergone sharp population declines and have even been extirpated from some parts of their range, despite being widespread and relatively secure in some areas. The total number of golden eagles in the range is estimated to be between 170,000 and 250,000, with breeding pairs ranging between 60,000 and 100,000. With a range of about 140 million square kilometres, it has the largest known range of any member of its family. If its taxonomic order is taken into account, it is only second to the osprey in terms of range (Pandion haliaetus). Few other eagle species are as numerous as the golden eagle, but some species, such as the tawny eagle, wedge-tailed eagle, and bald eagle, have total estimated numbers that are comparable to the golden eagle's despite their more limited ranges. The African fish eagle (Haliaeetus vocifer), which has a stable total population estimated at 300,000 and is found only in Africa, may be the world's most populous eagle. The IUCN does not consider the golden eagle to be endangered on a global scale.

Facts

  • The Golden Eagle feeds mainly on rabbits, hares, ground squirrels, and prairie dogs, despite its ability to kill large prey such as cranes, wild ungulates, and domestic livestock.

  • The amount of white in a young Golden Eagle's wings varies from individual to individual, and some have no white at all.

  • The Golden Eagle is the world's most widely recognised official national animal, serving as the symbol of Albania, Germany, Austria, Mexico, and Kazakhstan.

  • Golden Eagles have avoided the harm caused by DDT and related chemicals to fish-eating or bird-eating raptors because their common prey animals (mammals) do not tend to ingest pesticides. The eggshells of many birds of prey were thinned by these pesticides, but the shells of Golden Eagles remained natural thickness. Pesticide levels in their blood remained below those that have been linked to reproductive issues.

  • Raptor electrocutions are triggered when the large birds' wings or feet unintentionally cross two lines and form a circuit. Biologists, engineers, and government officials have collaborated to build and publicize power-pole prototypes that minimize raptor electrocutions. Utility companies have been modifying poles to avoid eagle electrocutions since the early 1970s. In non-urban areas, several new power lines have been installed to “raptor-safe” construction specifications.

  • Hacking, a centuries-old falconry technique, is assisting in the recovery of Golden Eagle populations. Humans feed caged, lab-reared nestlings at a hacked site that looks like a nest until the birds are 12 weeks old, at which point the cage is opened and the birds start feeding themselves. For several weeks, the fledglings receive handouts from their hack-site caretakers until they are fully independent in the wild.

  • The only American raptors with feathered wings all the way to the toes are the Rough-legged Hawk, Ferruginous Hawk, and Golden Eagle.

  • When it was discovered in Utah in 2012, the oldest known Golden Eagle was at least 31 years and 8 months old. In 1980, it was outlawed in the same state

  • There is a company called Golden Eagle inc. 

Conclusion

Golden eagle is a dark brown eagle with golden lanceolate nape feathers, dark eyes, yellow cere, grey beak, fully feathered wings, big yellow feet, and great talons. It has wings spread up to 2.3 metres. It is Mexico's national bird. The golden eagle can be found throughout North America, from central Mexico to Alaska and Newfoundland, along the Pacific coast and across the Rocky Mountains. Small numbers can be found as far south as North Carolina in the Appalachian Mountains. The golden eagle is protected by federal law in the United States, but special permits are required to shoot eagles in places where the birds are thought to be killing lambs. Golden eagles construct their nests in cliff caves or lone trees. Within the clutch, there are one to four (usually two) eggs that range in colour from all white to brown blotched. The eggs are incubated for 40 to 45 days by both parents. In around three months, the young (usually only one or two survive) fledge. Golden eagles have been killed by rival predators or hunting mammalian carnivores on rare occasions. Nestlings and fledglings are more likely than free-flying juveniles and adults to be killed by another predator. Eagles that consume diseased waterfowl contract avian cholera, which is caused by bacteria. Starvation is likely under-reported by natural causes of death. Just 6% of the 266 golden eagle deaths in Spain were due to unexplained causes that could not be linked to human activity. The majority of competitive attacks that end in death happen at the talons of other golden eagles.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What Is the National Bird of Russia

Ans: In Russia, there is no such thing as a "National bird of Russia." Russia's national symbol is a two-headed eagle that was borrowed from Byzantium hundreds of years ago. Nonetheless, there was never any special regard for this magnificent bird.

2. How Rare is a Golden Eagle Bird?

Ans: Golden eagles are not endangered, but they are scarcely seen in the eastern locations of North America. Sightings in New York and New England are exceptionally rare and only happen during migrations. The birds are usually 50% larger than bald eagles, with wingspans exceeding 7 feet (2 meters).

3. Are Golden Eagles Bigger Than Bald Eagles?

Ans: In terms of average height and wingspan, bald eagles are bigger than golden eagles, but there isn't much of a difference in average weight. Leg plumage is one way to tell a golden eagle apart from a young bald eagle. The back of the head and neck of adult golden eagles are tawny, and the tail is faintly banded.