Photo: Kris Kristovich.

Ten Facts about Golden Eagles

May 01, 2017 by Jana Hemphill
The Land Trust's Aspen Hollow Preserve has a golden eagle nest. Learn more about the nests and courtship behavior of these magnificent birds.

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What bird dives at speeds up to 200 miles per hour, soars on afternoon thermals, and generally mates for life? The golden eagle! In honor of the golden eagle couple Petra and Rocky, who have a nest at the Land Trust’s Aspen Hollow Preserve, here are 10 fun facts about this majestic bird’s nests and courtship:

1. Golden eagle nests are on average 5-6 feet wide and 2 feet high, weighing hundreds of pounds.

2. The largest golden eagle nest on record was 20 feet tall and 8.5 feet wide!

3. Nests are made up of sticks and vegetation. This may include conifer boughs, grasses, barks, leaves, mosses, lichen, fur, bones, antlers, and human-made objects (like wire and fence post).

4. Sometimes, golden eagles will bring herbs/aromatics into their nest. It is believed this may keep bugs away.

5. Golden eagles may inhabit the same nest for years, or alternate between different nests.

6. New nest material is added every year.

7. Both parents will incubate the eggs, but it is mostly done by the female.

8. Generally, the adult male delivers most of the food to the nest, while the adult female usually feeds the young.

9. Courtship rituals include circling and shallow dives at each other.

10. Nests are mostly built on cliff edges, although they can also be found in tall Ponderosa Pines and very rarely on electric transmission towers.


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