Understanding the Differences Between the Bald and Golden Eagle
• Opportunistic hunter
• Scavenge food and rob from each other
• Eat carrion
• Can be highly social
• Congregations of varying age classes
• Often initiates hunting flights from perches
Individuals and breeding pairs exhibit moderate to high tolerance of human disturbances.
• Primarily solitary
• Breeding pairs will hunt together
• Eat carrion
• Agressive territorial behavior
• Highly aerial
• Fly long distances to forage
Command more air space to hunt. Use ridge lifts and thermals to locate prey. Soar at significant heights (14,000 ft). Generate high speeds for pursuit (120-200) mph in a stoop.
Habitat of the Bald Eagle:
• Found at Sea Coasts,
Rivers, Lake, and Estuaries
Diet of the Bald Eagle:
• 25-75% of diet is fish
will eat birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and carrion
Habitat of the Golden Eagle:
• Found along Canyon-lands with rimrock terrain, cliffs and bluffs, Grasslands Ecosystems, Shrub Steppe, and occasional forests
Diet of the Golden Eagle
• Strongly associated with jack rabbits and squirrels. Will eat small mammals, reptiles, and carrion
BPHG currently has two programs underway to help the fledgling Golden Eagle successfully return to the wild.
FREE FLIGHT CONDITIONING AND TRAINING WITH A MASTER FALCONER
In some situations, a fledgling Golden Eagle will be placed with a master falconer for training and evaluation before release to the wild. The skilled falconer teaches the young eagle how to ride the thermals, soar the ridgelines and successfully pursue and capture suitable prey. This process takes 1-2 years before the eagle is ready for release. When released they are sub adults, efficient hunters, ready for their life in the wild. This has been a great program made possible by the incredible response and help from the falconry community. BPHG follows strict recommended guidelines put forth by the Committee for Eagle Rehabilitation Excellence. Not all eagles in this program are released to the wild; those that were not releasable due to their injuries or illness are evaluated for life as an educational raptor. Many have been placed in educational programs throughout the United States.
FLEDGLING/JUVENILE GOLDEN EAGLE WILD HACKING FOR RELEASE
Hacking is a process that has been very successful in a variety of raptors. This procedure involves placing flightless nestlings in an elevated structure known as a hack-box. This cage or chamber is elevated to give the nestling a view of the landscape. Here they are fed and watered for a period before being turned loose. As the nestlings age, the hack box is opened allowing the birds to take their first flight. They have learned that this hack box is their nest and return daily for food. The food provisioning continues until the raptor has learned to survive on its own.
Most fledgling eagles arriving to the raptor rehabilitation center are too old for this type of rehabilitation and would abruptly leave the hack box before associating it with food, and due to its inexperience, may starve to death. To prevent this unfortunate outcome, BPHG has implemented the Wild Hacking for Release Project developed by the Committee for Eagle Rehabilitation Excellence (CERE)
A young Golden Eagle entering this program is trained by a master falconer to step up on the glove and trained to a lure which provides food. The lure, a type of feeding station, is used to train the young eagle to look for this to acquire food. The lure /feeding station will be used at the hack site (a large expanse of land with hills and ridges), and once the young eagle has been conditioned to look for the feeding station it is released. The young eagle as it learns to soar and hunt on its own will have food provisions available at the feeding station daily or until it no longer requires assistance. These eagles will be monitored for their progression and ability to survive.