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Predation from Golden Eagles

This Turkey Tuesday is about predation – in this case, from golden eagles. Wild turkeys in western parts of their range deal with golden eagles consistently, but in the east, many turkeys only see golden eagles during winter and early spring when those eagles are migrating south. This first picture, recently posted by the Alabama Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division, shows an adult golden eagle attacking a turkey at a feeder along a right-of-way. The subsequent pictures, shared by followers and friends, show adult and juvenile eagles attacking birds in open fields – this is where golden eagles hunt, in open areas where they can locate prey. Although most wild turkeys in eastern parts of the species range rarely encounter a golden eagle, when they do it’s likely to not end well. Golden eagles are large birds, and often dive from great heights when attacking prey. In fact, their speeds when attacking prey have been clocked at nearly 200 miles per hour so for an unsuspecting turkey, odds are the eagle is already too close for comfort by the time the turkey realizes it’s in danger. The take home is, we often think of mammal predators when it comes to things that kill wild turkeys, but birds of prey can be efficient and effective predators of turkeys – even adults.

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