Golden Eagle 17 October 2009 at Coyote Hills Regional Park, Fremont, ALA Photos © 2009 Joseph Morlan

As we were leaving the park, an adult Golden Eagle soared over our heads and landed on a snag. This is a fairly rare species in the park and appeared to be a migrant, eventually departing to the South.

The Golden Eagle gets its name from the gold colored feathers on its nape and head. These feathers are often raised slightly into golden "hackles. Adult birds such as this, usually show a smattering of gold or reddish body feathers mixed with a darker brown plumage aspect.

Golden Eagles are one of the largest North American raptors. They feed mostly on small to medium sized mammals, but are reported to occasionally take large mammals such as caribou, deer, and pronghorn.

A. c. canadensis is the only subspecies in North America. Four or five other subspecies are found in Eurasia where they differ slightly in size and color. The largest birds range through the mainland of East Asia while the smallest are found in Korea and Japan.

A Red-tailed Hawk was harassing this Golden Eagle. Here the eagle is responding to the diving Red-tail by calling loudly. Golden Eagle's have a rather high "yapping" call which is rarely heard away from the nest, so it was interesting to hear. The Red-tailed Hawk eventually dislodged the eagle from his perch and drove it off.

Digiscoped with Panasonic DMC-LZ5 | Nikon FieldScope 3 | 30X WA | hand-held (no adapter).
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