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Golden Eagle

Aquila chrysaetos

Breeding Season Habitat

Golden eagles typically breed in or near open or partially open habitats, such as grasslands and shrublands, where they generally build their nests on cliff-sides. They build nests in trees as well, and can occasionally be found nesting in riparian or forested areas. Golden eagles are relatively sensitive to disturbance at their nests and generally choose to nest in areas where human development and activity are minimal. Rarely, golden eagles will build nests on human structures such as power poles or communication towers. Breeding adult golden eagles center their movements around their nest during the breeding season.

Winter/Migration Season Habitat

During spring and fall migration, golden eagles of all ages primarily travel along landscape features that provide lift, such as hills, ridgelines, and mountain ranges. However, they can also migrate over flat featureless terrain. Some golden eagles in the northwestern U.S. remain on or near their breeding territory year-round and are called residents. However, migrant eagles from northern latitudes (such as Canada and Alaska) can be found in the northwestern U.S. during the winter months. Golden eagles generally hunt in open spaces such as grasslands and shrublands in the winter, but are also known to hunt waterfowl in wetland areas and scavenge on carrion when it is available.

Facts About
Golden Eagles

Nesting Season
January 1 - August 31
Local Distribution
Statewide in Washington, Oregon and Idaho
Common Nesting Site
Arid landscapes near cliffs or rock formations
Defining Characteristics
Golden patches on head and neck
golden eagle ©Jonathan Bliss
Last Updated: July 16, 2014
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