Golden Eagle -- School-Age

Golden Eagle

Golden Eagle

The golden eagle is North Americas largest bird of prey. It is the national bird of Mexico and is on their flag.

Distribution


 

 

The golden eagle is found in areas of North America, Europe, Asia, and the Northern part of Africa. In the United Kingdom golden eagles lives in the open moorlands and mountains of Scotland.

Two species of eagle live in North America, and they are the largest eagles: the bald eagle and the golden eagle. In North America, golden eagles are primarily found in the Western States and Canadian Provinces from Alaska through Mexico.

Golden Eagle's are partial migrants. Golden Eagles living at the northern areas are more likely to migrate than those living farther south. Both eagle species in North America go north in the warm seasons and down to southern states and Mexico in the winter months.

Golden Eagle Distribution

Size

Golden eagles are large birds of prey. They are dark brown raptors with light golden-brown feathers on their head and neck, brown eyes, a yellow beak and talons. The legs of golden eagles are entirely covered by feathers. It can grow to a length of about 3 feet (66 to 102 cm), with a wingspan of 6 to 7 feet (1.8 to 2.34 m). Like other raptors the female is larger than the male.

Golden Eagle

Habitat

Golden eagles will make homes in a variety of habitats. They are found in mountainous areas, riverside cliffs and bluffs and anywhere rugged terrain has open areas. The avoid areas that are heavily forested, urban, and agricultural areas. They are found in rugged terrain that creates frequent updraft's.

Golden Eagle

Nest

A large nest of a bird of prey, especially an eagle is called an aerie. Audio English pronunciation of aerie.

Golden Eagle Nest Outcrop

Golden eagles build their large nest high off the ground in places like high cliffs or in tall trees. The nest shape is determined by the site picked by the eagles. It can be circular, cone-shaped, or somewhat flat. The eagle pair will use branches, twigs, sticks, vegetation, other items such as antlers, and human-made items when building a nest. Aromatic leaves are added to the nest to keep bugs away or freshen up the nest.

Golden eagle nest are huge about 5 to 6 feet (1.5m to 1.8m) wide and a bowl area for the eggs that is 3 feet wide by 2 feet deep. The eagles usually return to the same nest each year. As the years past the nest size will increase. The largest Golden Eagle nest recorded was 20 feet tall(6.1m) and 8 1/2 feet (2.44m) wide.

Eaglets

Golden eagles usually mate for life. A pair of eagles will return and use the same nest for several years. Females lay up one to four off-white with irregular brownish spotting eggs. The eggs will hatch in 35 to 45 days. The female sits on the eggs while the male brings back food for her.

Golden Eagle Eaglets

Golden eagle parents share the responsibilities of raising the young. When the chicks arrive the eagle parents take turns staying with them and bringing back food. Baby eagles are called eaglets.

Juvenile Golden EagleGolden eagle young are generally ready to fledge, or take their first flight by 7-11 weeks. The age of an eagle can be determined by its plumage. Juvenile golden eagle's have distinct white patches on its wings and at the base of its tail. It will take it 4-5 years to acquire adult plumage.

Diet

Like all raptors golden eagles are carnivores. As with other raptors golden eagles use their feet to capture prey. They are formidable hunters and prey on grass-eating small to medium-sized mammals, such as hares, ground squirrels, rabbits, and prairie dogs. They also eat reptiles, birds, and fish. Occasionally they will take prey as large as deer and antelope.

Golden eagles are one of the fastest and nimblest raptors in North America. They are extremely swift, and can nosedive at speeds of more than 150 miles per hour (241 kilometers). Golden Eagles usually soar or glide with wings lifted in a slight upturned V and the wingtip feathers spread like fingers. They can soar up to 120 mph.

Behavior

Golden eagles are territorial, their territory may be as large as 60 square miles.

Golden Eagle Chicks

Golden eagles have excellent eyesight. With its incredible eyesight golden eagles can see a mouse or rabbit from 2 miles (3.2km) away. Its eyes are designed to see in daylight. The bony ridge above the eagle's eyes protects it from sunlight and helps in hunting;.

Sometimes a person is said to have "eagle eyes". To have "eagle eyes" means a person notices everything, sharp watchful eyesight.

Recommended Book

Eagles (Kids Can Press Wildlife Series)
by Deborah Hodge

The book looks are eagles around the world then focuses on the two American species; bald eagles and golden eagles. A mix of iinteresting facts and ccurate watercolor illustrations that will grab children's attention. A surprising amount of information that will engage children's attention. A delightful book to learn about Eagles.

Things to Do

Golden Eagle lesson
4 pages - information, finish the sentence, key ideas, answer questions.

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