Picture of the Day: The Golden Eagle
THE GOLDEN EAGLE
The Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) is one of the best known birds of prey in the Northern Hemisphere. The species is fairly ubiquitous, being present in Eurasia, North America, and parts of Africa.
Golden Eagles use their agility and speed combined with extremely powerful talons to snatch up a variety of prey, including rabbits, marmots, ground squirrels, and large mammals such as foxes and young ungulates. They will also eat carrion (dead and decaying flesh) if live prey is scarce, as well as reptiles. Birds, including large species up to the size of swans and cranes have also been recorded as prey.
For centuries, this species has been one of the most highly regarded birds used in falconry, with the Eurasian subspecies having been used to hunt and kill unnatural, dangerous prey such as Gray Wolves (Canis lupus) in some native communities. Due to their hunting prowess, the Golden Eagle is regarded with great mystic reverence in some ancient, tribal cultures.
Golden Eagles maintain territories that may be as large as 155 km2 (60 sq mi). They are monogamous and may remain together for several years or possibly for life. Golden Eagles nest in high places including cliffs, trees, or human structures such as telephone poles. They build huge nests to which they may return for several breeding years. Females lay from one to four eggs, and both parents incubate them for 40 to 45 days. Typically, one or two young survive to fledge in about three months. [Source: Wikipedia]
In this photograph by Peter Carins of northshots.com we see a Golden Eagle in Cairngorms National Park, Scotland. The photograph was taken in March of 2007. Northshots was established in 1999 by Peter and his wife Amanda. In addition to providing high-quality imagery for stock usage and photo stories, they are passionate about conservation issues. Projects such as Tooth & Claw, Highland Tiger and Wild Wonders of Europe underline their commitment to visual communication; and their involvement with 2020VISION is our most ambitious undertaking to date.