GOLDEN EAGLE (Aquila chrysaetos)
DESCRIPTION: The Golden Eagle is actually mainly brown with dark gold plumage on the nape. The hooked bill is yellow near the base and is brown for the other half. The eyes are dark. The legs are covered in feathers. The feet are yellow and the talons are black.  It is almost one meter (36 in.) long and has an average wingspan of about 2 meters (7 ft).
NAME: The English name ‘Eagle’ comes from French ‘Aigle’ and Latin ‘Aguila’, which means ‘eagle’. The Latin genus name ‘Aquila’ means ‘eagle’, and the Latin species name ‘chrysaetos’ means ‘golden eagle’.
HABITAT: Open country, mountainous areas, canyons, cliffs.
DIET: Mammals (including sea ones), birds, fish, carrion, also steal food from other birds.
NESTING: The nest is built on a high elevation point (cliff or man-made structure) to allow unrestricted view. The nest is a structure made of sticks, bones and even pieces of garbage. The nests can become huge as they are used year after year. One to three creamy eggs are laid, which are incubated by the female, who is also feeding the young.
DISTRIBUTION:  The golden eagle has a wide range mainly in the northern hemisphere. It is a partial migrant south of its breeding range. Some vagrants have been observed on Hawaii.
ON PEI: The golden eagle does not breed on Prince Edward Island, and only accidental reports have been noted so far.
CONSERVATION: The golden eagle is currently not considered as threatened. The golden eagle is legally protected in the United States, but some birds are still illegally killed, sometimes because they may prey on livestock. Some threats include feeding on poisoned coyote carcasses, collisions with vehicles or electrocution at electric poles. The nests are sensitive to disturbance and parents may abandon it.
NOTES: The golden eagle has powerful leg muscles and talons that allow it to hold on securely to their prey once seized. The talons are known to exert a pressure of about 440 PSI (pounds per square inch), which is much more than a human hand.
This bird has cultural importance for many countries, where it is symbolized in their coat of arms and is their national bird.
The golden eagle is also used in falconry in some northern Asian countries for hunting foxes.
SIMILAR SPECIES: Bald Eagle, Turkey Vulture
REFERENCES: (endangered) (status sensitive)

Golden eagle - Captive raptor center, NC - photo by Dick Daniels
Golden eagle – Captive raptor center, NC – Dick Daniels