04.21.08–Athabascan Word of the Week–Golden Eagle

golden_eagle_tracks_b&w

Eagle = Yode = Upper Kuskokwim Dialect

Golden Eagle = Aquila chrysaetos

Order: Falconiformes (raptors).

Family: Accipitridae (hawks, kites, and eagles).

Range and Habitat: year–round resident of most of Alaska, except north of the Brooks Range and southeastern Alaska; in remote mountains, grasslands, and forested areas.

Size and Weight: length 32 inches, wing–span more than 72 inches; 10 pounds.

Diet: primarily rodents; occasionally other small mammals, birds, and fish.

Sound: rapid, sharp chirps.

Both the adult and the immature golden eagle have a rich, dark brown body plumage; the golden neck feathers are visible only at close range. The broad white tail band and white wing patches of the immature bird are good field marks. These birds exhibit typical buteo flight, with very long rounded wings.

The golden eagle is rare and endangered; if you sight one or find its tracks, consider it a lucky day. The golden eagle’s track shape–four equally prominent toe and claw imprints–is also representative of many species of hawks and falcons that are found in Alaska. The size and location of the tracks will vary depending on the particular species.

The bald eagle leaves identical tracks, and is very common year–round throughout southeastern Alaska. During the summer months, bald eagles are found in most central and southern Alaska as well, and are likely to be more common than golden eagles during those months of nesting.

Cited From: Animal Tracks of Alaska, written by Chris Stall, published by The Mountaineers, 1993.

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