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Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) Fact Sheet: Managed Care

Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos)


(Arent 2007) (Garcelon & Bogue 1977) (Palmer 1988)

  • Permits are required to keep these raptors in managed care in the U.S.; private individuals may not keep Golden Eagles as pets
  • Contact local Fish and Game offices in U.S. for raptor rehabilitation centers for injured and sick birds.
    • In California, contact:
    • Golden Eagles brought to rehabilitation centers are most often suffering from:
      • Gunshot wounds
      • Eating poisoned rodents
      • Being hit by vehicles
      • Electrocution (less of a problem than in the past)
      • Lead poisoning
  • Care of eagles in licensed facilities, accredited zoos: (Garcelon & Bogue 1977)
    • Overgrown beaks must be trimmed; cracked beaks can be helped to grow rapidly by knox gelatin
    • Talons should be trimmed; untrimmed talons curl and may jab the bottom of the foot.
    • Eagles in an aviary need at least a space 12 m (40 ft) long by 6 m (20 ft) by 2 m (7 ft) tall for proper exercise
    • Young eagles should be kept in a nest box when orphaned until they are fully feathered
    • Young eagles need to first learn to kill small prey; they are easily frightened by aggressive prey
    • Red items excite golden eagles, as does the sight of blood; they will attack people wearing red
    • Fresh water very important; they bathe frequently and drink large amounts
    • These birds are extremely powerful and can inflict severe damage; they should never be accessible to children and pets
  • Male Golden Eagles are "sulkier, more temperamental, quieter than female golden." (Garcelon & Bogue 1977)
  • Tame Golden Eagles can be returned to wild after spending time in an aviary with wild raptors.(Garcelon & Bogue 1977)

Return Flight

Golden eagle flying to a keeper

A Golden Eagle in training at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park.

Thick leather gloves are used to protect the keeper's arm from the Golden Eagle's sharp talons.

Image credit: © San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance. All rights reserved.

Image note: This is a cropped image.

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