A Golden Eagle wheels low looking for an easy meal at a banding station - Photo by Mike Werner  

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HAWK CLIFF FOUNDATION

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Golden Eagle
(Aquila chrysaetos)

Migration Timeframe:

A few Golden Eagles may be seen in mid-September, but October is prime time for them accounting for 60 % pf their total during the last 10 years. In some years, their main push is delayed till early November rather than in October.  Generally, numbers decline through November, with a few birds to migrating up to  mid-December.


Year

Peak Week

Avg

2002-2007 Oct 27-Nov 02 29


Year

Peak Week

Count

2008 Oct 27-Nov 02 169

 

Year

Earliest Obs

Count

Year

Latest Obs

Count

2002-2007 Sep 26 2004 1 2002-2007 Nov 24 2005 1
2008 Oct 13 1 2008 Nov 22 3

 

Where to Watch:

The Golden Eagles are almost never seen at the cliff itself. They're most often spotted at "Sharpie Alley" and at other points north towards Fruit Ridge Rd. Experienced observers know to watch for Golden Eagles mixed in with flights of Turkey Vultures. Their appearance can be very similar to the vultures...both are big and dark and exhibit a slight dihedral in their wings as they fly. Late one day in 2006 we had 5 Goldens drop down to roost in the bush lot just north and west of the ravine. A truly amazing sight!!


High Counts:

The Golden Eagle numbers continue to climb and the 2008 total of 220 includes a spectacular day on Nov 1st when a total of 65 were tallied....setting a new 1-day record. The 1-Hour high count was also surpassed on Nov 1st with 14 Goldens tallied from 10:00 to 11:00. Awesome!! Interestingly, the 1-month high count was also surpassed...BUT for the month of October 2008 with 115...and yet this excludes the 65 observed on Nov 1st.


1-Year 

Count

1-Month

Count

2008

220

Oct 2008

115


1-Day

Count

1-Hour

Count

Nov 01 2008

65

Nov 01 2008

14

 

Yearly Totals:

The 2008 yearly total exceeded the 10-Year and the 5-Year averages. (averages are based on 1998-2007 and 2003-2007 counts).


Year

Count

Year

Count

Year

Count

1995 20 2000 97 2005 83
1996 57 2001 51 2006 146
1997 50 2002 47 2007 151
1998 83 2003 76 2008 220
1999 110 2004 98 2009 N/A


10-Yr Avg

5-Yr Avg

94

111



Interesting Facts:

  • Juvenile Golden Eagles have a very distinctive plumage...with a broad white band in the tail and large white patches under each wing.

  • It takes 4 years before a Golden Eagle assumes the dark brown plumage and characteristic gold wash on the back of the head and neck of a mature bird.

  • All Golden Eagles are thought to winter within the North American continent and the majority within the continental U.S.

  • Males are typically smaller than females but there's some overlap.

  • The only way for a scientist to tell for sure whether a bald eagle is male or female is to measure bill and talon lengths

  • An eagle can live anywhere from 20-30 years in the wild and for up to 60 years in captivity

 

 

 


A Juvenile Golden Eagle passes low in front of the hawkwatch - Photo by Shay Redmond

Click on chart image for enlarged version

Click on chart image for enlarged version

 

 


 

 

 

 

Created: 2007-04-27   2007 Hawk Cliff Foundation  -  All rights reserved