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Hunts by flying low and striking with talons in brief rush or swift pounce - only rarely stoops from height after prey. It relies on surprise attack, and if this fails and a chase ensues the eagle is unlikely to be successful. Pairs may hunt co-operatively.
The diet is principally mammals and birds, taken both alive and as carrion. Main live prey consists of medium sized mammals and birds such as rabbits, hares, grouse and partridge. Items much larger than this will be taken as carrion. In the western Highlands of Scotland where live prey is scarce, the eagles depend largely on carrion, especially during the winter months. The eagles diet is very varied, and when food is short it will eat anything from passerines to cormorants, grasshoppers to fish.
The maximum weight most golden eagles can lift is 4-5kg (8.8-11lb), hence tales of very large animals or even children being carried away are to be viewed with scepticism.
In Scotland the average daily food requirement is 250g per day or 79kg of prey a year. In an average home range this could consist of 22 hares, 46 grouse and 16kg carrion. After a large meal an eagle does not need to eat again for days - a captive eagle survived for three weeks without food and then gorged itself on seven days supply at one sitting. Bald Eagles were removed from the endangered species list in June 2007 because their populations recovered sufficiently. However, the protections under the Eagle Act continue to apply. When the Bald Eagle was delisted, the Service proposed regulations to create a permit program to authorize limited take of Bald Eagles and Golden Eagles where take is associated with otherwise lawful activities. Population information for both eagle species will guide the Service in determining how many permits may be issued in any locality, including other types of permits the Service already issues. Priority will be given to Native American requests for permits to take eagles (under existing regulations) where the take is necessary for traditional ceremonies. Because of the limited size of the Bald Eagle populations in the Southwest, permits may not be available in all locations. Disturbance or take of Golden Eagles is likely to be limited everywhere in the U.S. due to potential population declines.
A large hawk, almost reaching buzzard size. When seen close to it has a fierce expression with bright yellow eyes and a distinctive white eyebrow. Its broad wings enable it to hunt at high speed, weaving in and out of trees, and its long legs and talons can catch its prey in flight. The female is substantially larger than the male. In late winter and spring it has a 'sky-dance' display. Goshawks are still persecuted and their nests are frequently robbed.
Particularly likes conifer woods and forests - spruce, pine and larch. Keeps clear of human disturbance as much as possible.
Best looked for near large areas of woodland and forests with glades and paths for it to hunt along. Can also be seen hunting over more open countryside.
The largest European heron. It can stand with neck stretched out, looking for food, or hunch down with its neck bent over its chest. In flight it holds its neck retracted and has large rounded wings. It is usually solitary although several birds may feed fairly close together. It stalks its food, often standing motionless for some considerable time. It usually feeds close to the bank or shore, but may wade out into shallow water.
Breeds colonially in tall trees near to plentiful fish supplies. Woodland close to inland lakes, gravel pits and marshes, and also near to estuaries and coastal marshes, especially in Scotland. Scarcer in upland areas.
Wetland marshes, gravel pits, reservoirs, lakes and rivers and estuaries, Usually seen standing silently at the water's edge, waiting for prey. Will come to gardens with ornamental fish ponds and fish farms.