Resident Raptor - Golden Eagle
Amazon & Orion
Amazon A larger eagle,
broke both her wings in June 1995, when she fell from her nest at about one
month of age. The right wing healed perfectly, but the left wing, which had
an open fracture with exposed bone ends, maggots, and a major infection, did
not, leaving her incapable of flight. She cannot be returned to the wild
because of her injuries.
Orion A small male, was apparently tossed by the whirling air from a speeding truck near LaPine in 1990, tearing ligaments in his right shoulder. He was a popular education bird at the High Desert Museum in Bend for 17 years, and then was transferred to CRC in September 2007. Since he was injured as an adult, his age is unknown.
Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)
A very large, dark to medium-brown bird with a
golden head and nape. Females are larger than males, though plumages are similar.
The entire upperside of the adult bird is dark brown, underside a slightly
paler brown, with a buffy color on the legs, which are feathered to the
yellow feet. Irregular, indistinct dark gray bands on tail. Head is
relatively smaller than that of a Bald Eagle; the eyes are hazel to dark
brown; the beak is dark. It takes four years and several molts for these
birds to reach maturity. Juvenile birds have broader wings and longer tails
than adults as well as plumage differences, including patterns of
whitish areas on the feathers, and a tail pattern of a distinctive broad white band
and terminal black band. In flight, the wingbeats are strong, slow, shallow,
and smooth. Golden Eagles soar in a slight dihedral, glide with wingtips up,
and can dive on prey at speeds up to 200 mph.
Size - Length: 27-33" • Wing Span: 72-87" • Weight: 6.6-14 lb.
Status - State and federally protected
both under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, as are all native birds, and the
Bald and Golden Eagle Act.
Habitat - Open mountainous regions of
the west, including high deserts, rangelands, canyonlands, tundra, alpine
areas, open woodlands, to southwestern deserts. Often distant from water,
and from low elevations up to 8,000 feet. Uses open areas in any season for
hunting; in breeding season needs suitable cliffs, bluffs, rocky outcrops or
trees for nesting.
Diet - Golden Eagles eat a variety of
small to medium-sized mammals up to the size of deer fawn, and also take
gamebirds, snakes, lizards. Almost all prey is captured on the ground. They
will eat carrion, but only rarely attack healthy large mammals. These eagles
will take dead or dying lambs, and for this reason are often harassed by
Call - Usually quiet, but has a variety
of calls: an occasional kya...kya...kya in flight; a weak high series of kee-yep,
keeyep greeting between mates; a strong, screaming kikikikiki alarm call.
Nesting - Enormous stick nests are built
on rocky crags, cliffs, and in trees in some areas. Some mated pairs return
to the same nest each year, others alternate between several nests. The same
nests can be used over many generations of eagles, growing larger each year.
If the location allows it, the nest can become really gigantic -- as much as
8 to 10 feet across by 3 to 4 feet deep.
Most Common Problems - Collision with
vehicles; electrocution and hitting power lines, especially in the dry
habitat these large birds inhabit where trees are scarce and power poles can
provide a good hunting perch. Poisonings: lead poisoning from lead shot
mammals they might scavenge, rodenticides used to kill prairie dogs or other
ground-dwelling mammals whose burrows are deemed a hazard to livestock, and
poisoned bait for control of coyotes.