Zeus – Golden Eagle
Zeus came from a falconer who held both parent birds on a depredation permit (eagles who prey on livestock). Both birds were housed together and eventually mated. The result was Zeus. This falconer, however, did not have a breeding license. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has very strict rules when it comes to the permits issued to possess Eagles. Because the falconer did not have a breeder’s permit he was required to give up any chicks that might result from these two birds while they were in his possession.
World Bird Sanctuary was contacted and asked if we could take the chick. We agreed to do so, but not until the chick was of fledging age and raised by the parents. The plan is to send Zeus to one of our zoo shows where he will continue to receive the training necessary to become an educational bird.
Species: Golden Eagle
Scientific Name: Aquila chryysaetos
Description: dark brown feathers covering the body in both adults and juveniles; adults have copper-gold feathers on the back of the neck; immature birds have white patches under the wings and a white band on the tail, which gradually disappears as the birds mature; the legs are feathered all the way to their talons
Sex: females usually larger than males
Age: up to 30 years in the wild, up to 50 years in captivity
Weight: 7-13 lbs.
Habitat: mountainous regions, open lands, hardwood forests, deserts
Range: mid-Canada south into Mexico; west from Colorado to the Pacific Ocean; also found in extreme Northeast – New Brunswick, Nova Scotia; winter range may extend as far south as Tennessee and east to the Atlantic; also found on many other continents
Behavior: pairs may successfully nest together for as long as twenty years; nests are built on cliff sides and in trees; constructed of large sticks, nests are lined with grasses, twigs and evergreen; same nest may be used every year with repairs and additions; normally, two eggs laid between March and May which are incubated for 41-45 days; eggs are white with brown or purple splotches; eaglets fledge 9-11 weeks later, but do not reach adulthood for about 5 years
Diet: rabbits, groundhogs, prairie dogs, turkey, grouse, waterfowl, smaller raptors, carrion
Vocalization: series of low, hoarse “kaks;” moderately loud series of sharp, rapid “chips”
- Diving from great heights, Golden Eagles have been clocked at close to 200 miles per hour
- North America’s largest bird of prey and the national bird of Mexico
- Largest Golden Eagle nest was 20 feet tall and 8 1/2 feet wide
- Mating pairs are monogamous for several years or possibly for life.