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Golden Eagle on Seedskadee NWR | by USFWS Mountain Prairie
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Golden Eagle on Seedskadee NWR

I Can't Believe I Ate the Whole Thing!


This golden eagle was spotted flying past refuge headquarters. You can see the large bulge in its crop below its neck. The crop is used to store freshly eaten prey, and slowly move it into its stomach for digestion. Eagles can eat up to 1/3 of their own body weight in food at one time. The average eagle needs between ½ and 1 pound of food each day. Because food sources may not be available daily, an eagle can gorge on food when it is available. Some sources say they can hold 2 pounds or more of food in their crop.


Not shure what it ate, but my guess is a white-tailed jackrabbit. They may just eat the flesh, but they can also eat the bones on smaller prey. The bones provide important nutrients. The acids in the eagle’s digestive system are strong enough to dissolve bones, which are completely digested, unlike owls which often regurgitate a "pellet" made up of undigested bones and fur.


Photo: Tom Koerner/USFWS

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Taken on December 6, 2015