Goldens – A real bird of prey

Say the word “eagle” and most locals think of our newspaper, thankfully, or those birds that come to town every winter  – bald eagles.

When I think of eagles, though, my mind goes to golden eagles. They’re simply amazing.

Unlike their white-headed counterparts golden eagles are amazing hunters. Yesterday I got a photo series e-mailed to me that showed a golden eagle eating and killing – yes, in that order – an adult pronghorn in Wyoming.

As they’ve been documented doing many times, including in western Kansas, goldens attach themselves to the back of a deer or antelope and start eating. Most times their razor-sharp talons kill the animal by puncturing a kidney, nerve or main artery. I’ve had Texas ranchers relay horror stories of golden eagles putting a major hammer on their lamb or kid-goat crop, even taking the occasional adult.

Kind of makes the fish-grabbing, carrion-eating bird that’s our national symbol seem pretty wimpy, huh?

The pics of the golden eagle taking down the antelope are a bit too graphic for me to post a link, though it is just nature at work. You can google a few words and find the shots if you’re so interested.

You can, though, click here to see some neat footage of Mongolian hunters using trained golden eagles to hunt wolves.