Golden Eagle our largest bird of prey

The Golden Eagle is a truly majestic bird—one which you may never see, or maybe only once or twice in your lifetime.
It is found in almost all parts of Canada, from B.C. to Newfoundland.
With an overall length of three feet or so, and a wingspan up to perhaps eight feet, this is our largest bird of prey.
This bird generally is dark in colour—brown with a distinct wash of gold on its head and tail.
Our common eagle here is the Bald Eagle, which has that white head and tail in the adult. Young ones, though, are all dark, which makes them very hard to tell from the mature Golden Eagle.
Another great difference from its white-headed cousin is in its eating habits. This one is a true predator, existing primarily on rabbits, mice, squirrels, and other small creatures, including foxes and small dogs.
It also dines on geese and ducks, which it can overtake and kill in mid-air.
It has long been accused of killing chickens, lambs, and even carrying off newborn human babies. But most of these stories are exaggerations.
Experiments have been done on the ability of the eagle to carry things in the air. It can carry about eight pounds if it’s already in the air. But with a weight of five pounds attached to its legs, it can’t get off the ground.
In North America, this great bird lives on most of the continent as far south as Mexico. It also is native to most of Europe, Asia, and North Africa.
In Britain, it generally is confined to the Scottish Highlands.
In the old days, Golden Eagles were trained for falconry—the sport of hunting with hawks. With its size, power, and speed, a trained eagle could command a good price, indeed.
The Golden Eagle looks for food by soaring high in the sky. His eyes are so good that, from 3,000 feet up, he can spot a ground squirrel in a field.
At that distance, you couldn’t even see the bird.
Golden Eagles are quite scarce. They never were really common, and they have been killed without remorse by farmers and ranchers who believe they are hard on livestock.
In the west, they even are hunted from aircraft.
A veteran sheepman in Wyoming said that, in his many years of raising sheep, he had never met a single person who actually had seen an eagle kill a lamb.
In any case, Golden Eagles are protected in most states, and in Canada. They do not, however, have the complete protection afforded to the Bald Eagle.
This is certainly a rare bird, and one which you will be quite fortunate to see here in Northern Ontario.
They do migrate in the winter. Sometimes quite large concentrations of them can be seen over the hills and plains of Texas and other southern states.
The Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) is our largest bird of prey—and one of the most regal-looking birds in the world.

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