Here are some things I learned about golden eagles yesterday. They range from west USA to far flung Asia. Scotland has around 450 pairs, the second largest breeding population in Europe – the largest is Sweden or Finland, one of the Scandinavian countries. (If you think of it, under 1000 birds living in Scotland: not that many, is it! And some game keepers still poison them! Gr…)
Their toes have uneven talon lengths, all the better to skewer their prey and kill it pretty much instantly; a particularly large prey such as deer, foxes or wolves may take a nit more killing. Yes, they can kill wolves! Golden eagles attack feet first, grabbing the prey with just one talon in case they miss or the prey attempts to fight back – the second is used for the coup de grace, if you like. And those taloned feet can grip with a pressure of … I’ve forgotten the value quoted, but it’s a lot, a lot more than the jaws of a powerful dog.