Last Updated on May 12, 2023 by Lily Aldrin
Hello, in this article, I am excited to introduce you to the two types of eagles that call Colorado home.
Eagles are majestic birds of prey that inspire awe and admiration in all who see them.
In Colorado, these birds can be found in various habitats, from the soaring heights of the Rocky Mountains to the expansive plains of the eastern part of the state.
In this article, we will explore the two types of eagles found in Colorado – the bald eagle and the golden eagle – their characteristics, and where you can spot them.
So, whether you are an avid bird-watcher or simply curious about these impressive birds, read on to learn more about the eagles of Colorado.
Types of Eagles in Colorado
1. Bald Eagle
There is a greater chance of seeing a Bald Eagle between the months of October through May in Colorado; however, they may be seen throughout the year.
They are found on 3% of summertime checklists and 12% of wintertime checklists that bird watchers in the state have reported for the state’s database.
One of the most famous birds of prey in the world is the Bald Eagle.
It possesses a huge yellow bill with a hooked tip and a head that is white with yellow eyes.
It has golden legs with enormous claws, and its body is a chocolate brown coloration all over.
Females resemble males in appearance, with the exception that they are around 26% bigger.
Up until they reach the age of 5th year, juveniles have bodies and heads that are dark brown with varying amounts of white markings or streaking.
The United States is home to the majority of bald eagles during the winter months since they spend their breeding season in Canada.
However, some individuals choose to spend the whole year in the same location, particularly in seaside areas.
During the time of year when it is nesting, the American Bald Eagle may be found in areas that have wetlands.
The best places to fish are open, expansive water bodies teeming with a diverse population of fish.
Bald Eagles need mature, tall, and massive trees for optimum sight, whether they are nesting, roosting, or perching.
They also want an open structure that allows them to view the forest floor.
Finally, they should be near water, particularly when they are nesting.
During the winter, they will congregate in areas that have a high concentration of perches close to unfrozen water and a good supply of fish.
When there is no accessible supply of unfrozen water, Bald Eagles may cluster in open environments with animals of medium sizes, such as meadows and grasslands.
Eagles of the Bald Head are opportunistic eaters, meaning that they will consume anything that is present in their surroundings.
Fish is their preferred source of nutrition, and the larger species, such as salmon and trout, are their favorites to eat.
They may catch these fish themselves by hunting, or they may take them from the nests of other birds.
They will sometimes consume carrion, which is a term for dead fish.
They also consume birds ranging in size from medium to big, such as owls, geese, ducks, and herons.
When fishing for food proves to be less profitable during the winter months, bald eagles switch their focus to hunting animals.
They will first focus their attention on prey that is either sick or young.
They will pursue prey such as beavers, squirrels, rabbits, young deer, and raccoons.
The squeaking of the Bald Eagle isn’t really commensurate with its size, as they create a whistle that is really dishearteningly high in pitch!
The nests that Bald Eagles build are enormous and very strong so that they can support their enormous bodies.
They construct a nest out of sticks about six feet in diameter and four feet in height.
The female gathers all of the necessary components, which may include moss, sticks, feathers, and grass, while the male is responsible for transporting them.
It is generally agreed that the nests of bald eagles are the biggest of any bird across North America.
In the wild, females may hatch anything from 1 to 3 eggs each year.
They are capable of laying a maximum of seven eggs, even when kept in captivity.
During the first 35 days of incubation, both parents take turns tending to the eggs.
Whoever is not now guarding the eggs is given the opportunity to search for food so that the other may be fed.
Since the year 1782, the American national emblem has been the majestic Bald Eagle.
Even though it has the term “bald,” it does not have hair on its head.
The original meaning of “bald” was “white,” which refers to the white coloration of the animal’s tail and head.
2. Golden Eagle
Golden Eagles may be seen across Colorado throughout the whole year, and they are seen on as many as 2% of summertime and winter checklists.
The Golden Eagle is the species of eagle that may be found in most locations throughout the globe.
When seen in the appropriate light, their nape (neck) and crown have a golden brown color, making them an impressive sight.
Their flying feathers are lighter in color than the rest of their bodies, which are a deeper brown.
Their eye color ranges from a pale yellow to a deep chocolate brown.
They possess a black tip to their bill, and the end of their beak, which is called the cere, appears yellow.
The cere seems to be the skin over the beak that joins to the forehead.
Adults of both sexes seem the same; however, females are much bigger than males.
Juveniles are similarly quite identical to adults.
However, they have a tendency to have a deeper hue, and their backs may occasionally almost seem black.
They also possess some white coloration on the tail, as well as white spots on the underside of their wings.
There are six different subspecies of the Golden Eagle: the Iberian Golden Eagle, the European Golden Eagle, the Kamchatkan Golden Eagle, the Asian Golden Eagle, the North American Golden Eagle, and the Japanese Golden Eagle.
The size of each one of them is different, and their feathers have some very subtle color shifts that set them from one another.
Golden Eagles spend the winter across northern Mexico and the United States, where they travel from their breeding grounds throughout Alaska and Canada.
Nevertheless, Golden Eagles may be seen year-round in western regions of the United States.
Golden Eagles prefer environments high in the mountains, far beyond the treeline, where they may be found.
When they are breeding, they may also be found among cliffs, bluffs, and canyons beside rivers.
They will go out of their way to avoid being around others.
If you’d like to see what a day in the life of a Golden Eagle looks like, then you should watch the video that has been provided for you below; however, you should only do so if you are not afraid of heights!
Because Golden Eagles are birds of prey, it seems to reason that their prey would consist of creatures ranging in size from tiny to medium, such as hares, rabbits, and prairie dogs.
Swans, cranes, and even domestic cattle are among the bigger animals that they have been known to hunt and kill on occasion.
They almost always hunt in groups, with one member of the group pursuing the prey until it becomes exhausted, at which point the other member of the group swoops in for the kill.
The primary time of year for golden eagles to make their distinctive sounds is during the mating season when their babies are pleading for food, and their parents are responding.
Aside from that, they are not very talkative.
They create whistling sounds at a very high pitch.
Nests of Golden Eagles are often found on rocky outcrops or other locations at high altitudes.
On the other hand, they may also construct them in trees or manmade buildings like nesting platforms, observation towers, or even windmills.
They are constructed on a high perch in order to provide the parents with a broad view of their hunting and nesting sites.
The construction of a nest for a golden eagle out of sticks and other plant matter may take from around 1 to 3 months.
They go so far as to cover their nests with fragrant leaves in order to ward off insects and other unwanted guests.
These nests are kept and reused for a number of years, during which time the adults continue to add new materials to them, causing them to expand.
The female will lay anything from 1 to four eggs, and the male and female will take turns incubating the eggs for a period of 41 to 45 days.
In 37 hours, the child will emerge from its egg and become independent.
The only prey birds native to the United States that have feathers covering their legs all the way down to their toes are the Rough-legged Hawk, the Ferruginous Hawk, and the Golden Eagle.
In conclusion, the two types of eagles found in Colorado – the bald eagle and the golden eagle – are magnificent birds of prey that represent the natural beauty and diversity of the state’s wildlife.
These eagles are not only important members of Colorado’s ecosystem but also symbolic of the strength and freedom that the state embodies.
Whether you catch a glimpse of them soaring high in the sky or perched on a tree branch, the sight of these majestic birds is truly awe-inspiring.
By understanding and appreciating these eagles, we can help to protect them and ensure that they continue to thrive in Colorado’s unique landscape.
So, the next time you explore Colorado’s wilderness, keep an eye out for these incredible birds and take a moment to appreciate their beauty and significance.
What is the difference between a bald eagle and a golden eagle?
Bald eagles are larger in size and have a white head and tail with a dark brown body. Golden eagles have a dark brown body with a lighter golden-brown head and neck.
Where can I see eagles in Colorado?
Eagles can be seen throughout Colorado in a variety of habitats, including forests, mountain ranges, and near bodies of water. Some popular spots for eagle-watching include the San Luis Valley, Pueblo Reservoir, and Barr Lake State Park.
Are eagles endangered in Colorado?
Bald eagles were once endangered in Colorado, but thanks to conservation efforts, their population has rebounded. Golden eagles are not currently considered endangered in Colorado.
Do eagles migrate through Colorado?
Yes, both bald eagles and golden eagles migrate through Colorado during certain times of the year. Bald eagles typically migrate through the state during the winter months, while golden eagles can be seen in Colorado during the fall and winter.
Are eagles important to Colorado's ecosystem?
Yes, eagles are important to Colorado’s ecosystem as apex predators. They help to control the populations of other animals and maintain a healthy balance in the ecosystem. Additionally, eagles are a significant cultural and symbolic representation of Colorado’s natural heritage.