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Golden Eagles

The golden eagle (aquila chrysaetos) is widespread in the northern hemisphere, living in North America, some parts of South America, Europe, North Asia, the Middle East, North Africa, and Japan. They seem to prefer mountainous areas, but they also have been known to live in forests and on the plains. Because they are so widespread, cultural references to golden eagles are numerous, such as in ancient Middle East religious texts (Jewish, Christian, and Islamic), in a variety of heraldry and crests, and in ancient and modern art. In the Americas, an example of the golden eagle's symbolic nature can be found in Mexico, where it is the national symbol, representing the founding of Tenochtitlán in 1325 by the Aztecs under the rule of Tenochtli.

The golden eagle is the largest bird of prey in North America. Its body size can reach 3 feet, and the average wingspan is 7 feet, yet they can reach speeds of up to 120 miles per hour when diving. Females are significantly larger than males. The feathers are dark brown with notable golden plumage on the head and neck. The talons, while not as powerful as those of the harpy eagle, are believed to be more powerful than the hand and arm strength of humans.

Golden eagles mate for life, and a pair will build several nests within their territory. They also usually hunt in pairs, one driving the prey towards the waiting partner.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has assigned the golden eagle the status of “Least Concern” on their conservation scale. The IUCN conservation status has 7 different scales ranging from “Extinct” to “Least Concern.” The golden eagle’s main threat is humans.