We’ve seen several videos of how ruthless golden eagles can be, and how efficient their hunting methods are.
Golden eagles are large, powerful birds of prey known for their impressive hunting abilities. They are found in various places across North America, Eurasia, and parts of Africa.
With a wingspan ranging from 6 to 8 feet, and a body length of about 2.5 to 3.5 feet, they are some of the most skilled hunters you’ll find anywhere. They have a sharp, hooked beak capable of tearing through flesh, and powerful talons with a strong grip force. But it’s their keen eyesight that is really the secret weapon as it helps them spot prey from great distances.
Their diet consists of small to medium-sized mammals, such as rabbits, hares, ground squirrels, and marmots, but they’ll prey on anything they can really get their claws on, including carrion. Capable of reaching diving speeds of 150 miles per hour, they also have the strongest grip of any raptor, which is how they can carry fairly large mammals through the air. Sometimes golden eagles will use their powerful talons to drag large animals, like mountain-inhabiting goats, right off the side of a cliff, and then swoop down to collect their easy meal.
This wild scene was posted to Instagram by Montana-based hunter Steven Drake on October 20th. In the video, you can see a mountain goat standing on the side of a mountain, as a massive golden eagle hovers over the goat’s head.
At first, the goat doesn’t notice the bird, but as soon as it does it takes back off down the mountain a bit. Suddenly, the golden eagle goes in for the attack, and the mountain goat swiftly weaves the eagle’s efforts. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see how the scene ends, but I’d like to think that the mountain goat survived this altercation unscathed. With a little more surprise, perhaps eagle could’ve latched on and dragged him down to meet his maker.
Needless to say, it’s an impressive video of a mountain goat standing its ground, other goats haven’t been so lucky.
This one comes from BBC’s Frozen Planet II, in the Italian Alps. In the footage, you can see a golden eagle swoop in over the edge of a cliff. You can see the bird struggling for a moment, but next thing you know it has a whole mountain goat hanging from its talons as it begins to fly away.
It appears that the “goat” is actually a “goat-antelope” called a chamois, which is native to many of the well known European mountain ranges (Alps, Carpathian, Balkan). You can visibly see the goat still struggling as it hangs from the bird’s talons, high above the rocky cliffs.
However, the eagle can’t hold on for much longer as the mountain goat was still battling as much as it could, and that’s all part of the plan. You see, the eagle isn’t trying to hold on forever… it’s trying to hold on just long enough to get the goat out off the edge. And then, bombs away… the eagle drops the goat several hundred feet to its death.
It’s a perfect live depiction of the brutality of nature. Although, one might argue that falling to an instant death is better than being picked apart, piece by piece, by the eagle (or another predator).
The caption to the video reads:
“The golden eagle, one of nature’s most powerful avian hunters, showcases a display of raw strength and precision.
With fierce determination, it swoops in, clutches a mountain goat, and despite the weight, ascends skywards. High above, where the air is thin and the world below seems distant, it releases its prey, letting gravity do the final deed.
Yet, the eagle isn’t alone in its airborne tactics. The osprey, a master of the sea with keen eyes and sharp talons, often plucks its aquatic prey with finesse.
But sometimes, a wriggling fish proves challenging, leading the osprey to release and drop it from high above, only to swoop down and reclaim its catch, now subdued and easier to grip.”
Nature is incredible… and golden eagles are some of the most fascinating. So much so, that some parts of the world actually train these birds to hunt deer, boar and other wild game.