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Immature Golden Eagle flying over MCB Quantico

Photo Gary Myers, Marine Corps Base Quantico, Nokesville Christmas Bird Count, December 2011

Text by Preston Gibbs and Bret Tomko

Photos Julia Flanagan; Magee Marsh, Ohio; May 2011

Golden Eagle
Aquila chrysaetos
Family - Booted or True Eagles

The Golden Eagle is an irregular visitor to Northern Virginia. They typically nest on rocky crags or cliff faces.

These eagles pair and mate for life. Both male and female make nests. The female lays between her 3-4 eggs between January and September. After roughly a month, these hatch.

When prey is plentiful, it will eat any small-medium size, with over 200 species of mammals and birds have been counted among prey. They have been known to take small sheep and other small farm animals. In the winter, they feed on carrion and waterfowl.

A juvenile the Golden eagle has white spots on the wings while an adult is mostly dark brown. The golden Eagle adult is a large brown raptor weighing from 6 to 15 lbs with a wingspan 6 to 7.5 ft.

Golden Eagles fly close to the ground but can dive at speeds faster than 150 MPH. Golden Eagles maintain a 30% success rate during hunt.

Golden eagles are protected by the law.