A Golden Eagle Moment

7 Jul 2011 Wildlife Stories

Golden Eagle and Dragonfly

A golden eagle made an appearance near the cottage the other day and actually sat in one spot long enough for me to scramble along the shoreline and get a few pictures.

The famous hunter flew in just before dusk and landed on the top of a large spruce tree.

A young deer was browsing in the meadow below the tree and although a large female golden eagle is capable of taking one, this guy would have had a tough time, so I suspect he was just resting or scouting the territory.

I have seen a pair of these magnificent raptors flying around the area over the past couple of years, but have never had the chance to get a photo. We regularly see other impressive birds of prey, such as ospreys and bald eagles, but the golden eagles turn up less frequently. They really catch your attention when they arrive because they completely dwarf the other birds.

The male, which I suspect is the one in the photo, is bigger than our local bald eagles. I saw the female only once last year from the boat when I was making a run back towards the fishing lodge. Perched on the top of one of the cabins along the way not five minutes from my place, the bird stood out like a giant roof ornament; it was massive. It would have been the photo of all photos, but I didn’t have the camera with me and decided not to make the time to go back for it.

If you look closely at the first photo, you can see a dragonfly approaching the eagle from the right side. It gives us an idea about how big the golden eagles actually are. Maybe the deer was on the menu!

Golden Eagle Takes Off

As soon as the eagle figured I had gotten too close it decided to take off.

I have been told that immature bald eagles are sometimes mistaken for golden eagles.

I don’t believe that is the case in this instance.

Written and photographed by: Andrew Walker

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3 Comments »

  • Pam Storozuk said:

    Didn’t know that the golden eagle is bigger than the bald eagle.  Very nice pictures.  ( I think wolf  instead of deer would be a better menu choice for Mr. Golden Eagle. )

  • uncle zeee said:

    nice pics,    —have you seen the videos of these birds taking mountain goats off the cliffs? or the one of  one taking down a mature deer in full flight—awesome!!!

  • Mike said:

    I borrowed Mike’s password to check out your website from our former cottage — the stories are awesome and bring back some great memories.  For instance, re. golden eagles, one early fall evening Mike, our son Colin, and I were heading up to the cabin at the end of a long work week and just before Boudreau Island, near the two rocky islands where the pelicans often hang out, we noticed a huge bird perched on a jackpine deep in the little inlet off to the right.  We cut the motor and drifted in to take a closer look.  Wow, it was huge, and quite unlike anything we’d ever seen before.  When we got to the cabin we looked up some illustrations in one of the many bird books we had out there, and realized that we had just seen a golden eagle, way off the normal migration route, and much more likely to be seen in the mountain valleys of BC.  Your story confirms that we were not seeing things!Barb