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Queen of the skies

Focus on: The Golden Eagle

Roberto Malacrida's lens catches the look in the eye of a golden eagle.

The golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) is one of the largest European raptors. There is a healthy population in the Park as we have 10 couples. The distribution is now close to saturation, as we believe there is no further territory available to allow parents to raise more young.

Each couple occupies a vast territory, an average of 30 square kilometres, in which they build a new nest or modify an old one every year, usually by bringing fresh conifer branches. They lay their eggs between the middle of March and the end of May. The parents usually only raise one chick, which starts to fly between the beginning of July and the end of August, but it is not rare for them to raise two chicks to maturity from the same brood.

The eagle's favourite prey is marmot or chamois, but in winter they will happily feed on dead ungulates.

A curious fact: an eagle soaring in the sky is not hunting, but is checking out its territory. A hunting eagle is almost invisible, because it glides along the slopes and pastures ready to drop on its prey behind a rock or bush.

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