Backlands Spring Migration – Golden Eagle

In our continuing series featuring birds sighted in the Backlands, we focus today on a major bird of prey.

Backlands Spring Migration Bird Inventory – Golden Eagle

Golden Eagle – March 2020

Golden Eagle
Photo: Pixabay

One of the biggest, fastest and most agile of raptors, the Golden Eagle has shiny gold-toned feathers on head and neck, and powerful talons and beak to hunt small mammals, such as rabbits and squirrels. They are one of the few eagles with feathered legs all the way down to their toes. Golden eagles prefer open wilderness away from civilization, and nest on cliffs or steep escarpments, so the eagle spotted in the Backlands was likely just passing through. If you are lucky enough to see a Golden eagle hunting, watch for its incredible speed (up to 320k per hour) as it dives from great heights. Nests take months to build and are huge, up to 2 metres wide and a metre deep.

Threats and Conservation status – Because they don’t eat many fish or birds, Golden Eagles have not ingested agricultural pesticides like DDT – toxins that thin the eggshells and cause reproductive problems in birds of prey. However they are under threat from human activity, though collisions with structures, electrocution from power lines, and from efforts to control their population by livestock farmers.

Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) – Sighting Field Notes

Golden Eagles. Purcell’s Cove Backlands. March 2020

Golden eagles sighted in Purcell’s Cove Backlands, a ‘Flyway Corridor” for migrating raptors as well as many other birds. Eagle is possibly a three-year-old adult, passing through on its way to Gaspe, Quebec.

Backlands Coalition – Birds and Trees Inventory, 2020
Fulton Lavender, bird expert, consultant
Martha R. Leary, inventory recorder, bird enthusiast
Information from the All About Birds website,, © Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Pixabay Royalty Free stock photo

Backlands Spring Migration – Golden Eagle