Skip to comments.Golden Eagle Attacks Pronghorn Antelope in Wyoming
Posted on 02/08/2012 4:25:38 PM PST by SJackson
The golden eagle is found across North America and is the largest bird of prey found in the United States.
Golden eagles occur in the greatest numbers from Alaska southward throughout the mountain and prairie habitat of the West and into Mexico. They occur in lower numbers to the east across Canada, the Great Lakes states, and the Appalachian Mountains of the eastern United States.
Golden eagles have caused livestock losses and there have well-been documented cases of golden eagles taking mule deer and pronghorn antelope fawns.
Golden eagle prey consists primarily of small mammals such as prairie dogs, rabbits and ground squirrels, but they will consume birds and reptiles when they can catch them. Large mammals are fair game too. Golden eagles sometimes attack large mammals. Mule deer and pronghorn of all ages have been observed being attacked or killed by eagles. In fact, documented kills of bighorn sheep, coyotes, bobcats, and foxes being killed exist. They also eat carrion.
Many ranchers are not fond of golden eagles. They occasionally kill calves, sheep, pigs and goats. Although attacks on animals that weigh more than about 35 pounds are uncommon, they are not unheard of. The photos below show an adult golden eagle attacking and killing a pronghorn antelope near Rawlins, Wyoming. It was assumed that the pronghorn was not healthy, and the photos are quite gruesome, but they do show the ability of the amazing ability and tenacity of the golden eagle.
As the photos show, golden eagles grab deer and pronghorn anywhere on the head, neck, or body, frequently grasping from the front or side. They kill adult animals with numerous talon stabs into the upper ribs and back. Their feet and talons are well adapted to closing around the backbone, with the talons puncturing large internal arteries, frequently the aorta in front of the kidneys.
The major cause of death is shock produced by massive internal hemorrhage from punctured arteries or collapse of the lungs when the rib cage is punctured. Young animals die from shock and loss of blood as they are eviscerated as golden eagles grab them and simply start eating. Where eagles prey on domestic animals, they usually take the young, but some eagles become persistent predators of livestock as large as 500 pounds. Nature is both cruel and amazing. The golden eagle because of regulations and sound wildlife management practices, but its easy to see how this species can have a huge impact livestock producers.
I worked on a 10,000 acre cattle ranch outside of Douglas. I used to chase pronghorn and mule deer on horseback. Lots of goldens up on Owl Creek and toward Laramie Peak. Never had any problem with them. Had to watch those mule deer. They’d scrape you off on a tree if you didn’t pay attention.
When I post about eagles, I always include something about Old Abe. Even though he was bald, not golden. From wiki
Old Abe was captured in 1861 by Ahgamahwegezhig near the Chippewa River, near the town of Jim Falls, in Chippewa County, Wisconsin. Ahgamahwegezhig, or Chief Sky, or Old Jackson, was the son of Ah-mous (translated either as The Little Bee or Thunder of Bees), who held first rank in the councils among the Lac du Flambeau Ojibwe.
Old Abe was subsequently traded to local farmer, Daniel McCann, for a bushel of corn, who in turn sold her to the 8th Wisconsin's Company C for $2.50.
Company C named the eagle after President Abraham Lincoln, and designed a special perch on which they carried the bird into battle. Old Abe participated in the Second Battle of Corinth (in which the 8th Wisconsin lost half of its men) and the Siege of Vicksburg, among other battles. In battle, Old Abe quickly became legendary, screaming and spreading her wings at the enemy. Confederate troops called her the "Yankee Buzzard" and made several attempts to capture her but never succeeded. Several times she lost feathers to bullets and saw her handlers get shot out from under her. When passing by, Generals Ulysses S. Grant, William T. Sherman, and William Rosecrans were known to doff their hats to the eagle.
In 1864, Old Abe returned to Wisconsin with several veterans who did not reenlist. Nevertheless, she remained famous and was invited to, among other events, the 1880 Grand Army of the Republic National Convention, and the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. When not at public events, her caretaker kept her in the Wisconsin State Capitol.
 PostbellumOld Abe died from smoke inhalation in a fire at the State Capitol in 1881. Her body was mounted and remained a centerpiece of the capitol. The mount, along with most of the capitol building, was destroyed by fire in 1904.
Case Corporation mascotThe insignia of the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division is a depiction of Old Abe. The design is based on one of the Civil War traditions of the state of Wisconsin, which was the territory of the original 101st Division after World War I. The black shield recalls the Iron Brigade, the famous Civil War unit composed of western regiments (although not the 8th Wisconsin).
Old Abe was adopted by Jerome Case as the trademark of the J. I. Case agricultural equipment manufacturing company of Racine, Wisconsin in 1865. The trademark was retired in 1969.
Old Abe is the mascot of Eau Claire Memorial High School, whose athletic teams are known as the "Old Abes", and of Racine Case High School, whose teams are simply the "Eagles".
A replica of Old Abe presides over the Wisconsin State Assembly Chamber
Old Abe on the Wisconsin Memorial, Vicksburg National Military Park BattlesOld Abe was present at numerous battles and lesser engagements during the war:
Fredericktown, Missouri - 21 October 1861
New Madrid and *Island #10 - March & April 1862 Union General John Pope captured Point Pleasant, Missouri, provoking Confederates to evacuate New Madrid; they abandoned arms and provisions valued at one million dollars during their escape across the Mississippi River to the eastern bank and to Island No. 10
Point Pleasant, Missouri - March 20, 1862
Farmington, Mississippi. - May 9, 1862
Corinth, Mississippi. - May 28, 1862
Iuka, Mississippi. - September 12, 1862
Burnsville, Mississippi. - September 13, 1862
Iuka, Mississippi. - September 16-18, 1862
Corinth, Mississippi. - October 3-4, 1862
Tallahatchie, Mississippi. - December 2, 1862
Mississippi Springs, Mississippi. - May 13, 1863
Jackson, Mississippi. - May 14, 1863
Assault on Vicksburg, Mississippi. - May 22, 1863
Mechanicsburg, Mississippi. - June 4, 1863
Richmond, Louisiana. - June 15, 1863
Vicksburg, Mississippi. - June 24, 1863
Surrender of Vicksburg- July 4, 1863
Brownsville, Mississippi. - October 16, 1863
Fort Scurry, Louisiana. - March 13, 1864
Fort De Russey, Louisiana. - March 15, 1864
Henderson's Hill, Louisiana. - March 21, 1864
Grand Ecore, Louisiana. - April 2, 1864
Pleasant Hill, Louisiana. - April 8-9, 1864
Natchitoches, Louisiana. - April 20, 1864
Kane River, Louisiana. - April 22, 1864
Clouterville and Crane Hill, Louisiana. - April 23, 1864
Bayou Rapids, Louisiana. - May 2, 1864
Bayou La Monre, Louisiana. - May 3, 1864
Bayou Roberts, Louisiana. - May 4-6, 1864
Moore's Plantation, Louisiana. - May 8-12, 1864
Mansura, Louisiana. - May 16, 1864
Battle of Maysville, Louisiana. - May 17, 1864
Calhoun's Plantation, Louisiana. - May 18, 1864
Bayou De Glaise, Louisiana. - May 18, 1864
Ditch Bayou at Lake Chicot or River Lake, Arkansas. - June 6, 1864
Hurricane Creek, Mississippi. - August 13, 1864
Thomas J. Hill
He was a before his time UAV. Soon, political correctness will force schools to stop naming their teams after eagles.
My husband has already lost 3 baby calves to Turkey Buzzards this month.
Bookmarked. We have a lot of Golden Eagles around here.
Ping to the Auburn list. For those who don’t know, Auburn’s eagle is traditionally a golden eagle, and bears the name “Tiger.” WAR EAGLE!!!!
It is also a well-known fact around here, that golden eagles like to munch on elephants best of all, with a side order of tigers from Louisianna and the occassional gamecock, bulldog or razorback hog.
I've sponsored an injured animal each year since then..YOu get a progress report, and a video of the release.
Other amazing thing..eagles really stink..what a godawful smell....
Seen hundred’s of them for 22 years working around the Thunder Basin Grssslands. North of Douglas.
I almost hit a bald eagle that was picking up a roadkill racoon in Florida. It kept trying harder and harder to get airborne as I approached, it finally just barley cleared my truck hood and that coon was huge. Looked between 18 and 23 pounds.
I guess after attacking Lion and Snow Leopard and Cheetah, you decided to go for Antelope!
P.S. I like your posts regarding Android.
I had a pair of golden eagles attack my dog (a larger than normal border collie). Fortunately, they didn’t make it through the sliding glass door. But seeing them up close and personal, I have no doubt that they would have killed him, or at least seriously injured him.
Truly impressive animals. One of them caught a cardinal, and held him in one talon as he took off (about 15 feet from me). I couldn’t see any red, his talons were so big.
Thanks for the ping, Jem and LOL.
Are antelope any good on the grill?
A few years ago I was reading up on falconry, and came across something about eagles being trained to hunt tigers!
All hail NOVA!
Ping: In case you are not on the ping list above by sjackson.
Yes, we have Spirit, a bald (I think) and Nova, a golden, at present. But we also have Tiger who is retired from exhibition. She’s had a long life, but while she lives, she is “Tiger.”
I forgot to give homage to “Spirt” who has just been an awesome second stringer till NOVA got well.
And I love how Auburn is a major veterinary college. Wish Clint Jr would change his major to it for grad school...only because he could live in the Loveliest City longer.
When is he set to graduate? My youngest, who got married Dec. 30, btw, will walk in May.
I meant to tell you, we’re in spring mode here. My forsythia is beginning to bloom. I have some early azaelas. I’ve been picking daffodils for about two weeks now. Spring in Auburn is absolutely breath-taking.
out here in Montana we call them pronghorns “turbo goats” and I’ve seen many Goldens munching on road kill whilst the ravens and other road kill clean up crew birds observe...its the circle of life
The Mongolians use Golden Eagles to hunt wolves. Check out some of the Youtube videos. Its pretty wild.
Can we train it to take out an elephant?
There is a great Utube on the Mongolians training golden eagles to take down wolves...fasinating...One eagle took down a wolf and was having trouble with it so they let the second eagle to help...got the wolf...I didn’t think you could train golden eagles like you do falcons, they take bigger prey...
About a week ago I was heading down to the auto parts store.
I live at about 550 feet elevation in the Puget Sound region, and the parts store is in a town called Sumner down in the valley.
So I’m cruising down the road (down a pretty steep grade lined by Doug Fir trees, I got about 3 cars behind me 4 or 5 car lengths back, and there’s this big commotion in front of me.
I touched the brakes, moved into the left lane and thank God there was no oncoming traffic because a large American Bald Eagle had decided to land in the road about 100 feet in front of me!
He managed to get off the ground and was airborne maybe twelve feet away when I passed the spot he had landed in.
Wish I had some pics!!
I sure wish we could. That dang elephant stomped us pretty badly last night. Ouch!
I cheer for Auburn sports teams because I went to Auburn. Most of them just cheer for the football team.
Just remember, the Gator is at the top of the food chain.
I see eagles about every day feeding on road kill deer,mostly bald eagles.They have plenty to eat from the road kill.
I don’t see them that often, but saw my first of 2012 in mid jan, and deer is what he was feasting on. Pulled my car over to watch. Gave me a really nasty stare, wasn’t going anywhere. Bald, not golden.
Mongols hunting wolves with eagles...
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