Canku Ota logo

Canku Ota

Canku Ota logo

(Many Paths)

An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America


August 25, 2001 - Issue 43


pictograph divider


Graying of an Eagle


 by Phil Goldvarg


Along the hills that looked over a forested land, lived a great eagle of black feathers and wild eyes. He perched on the highest point, which was rocky and ragged.

Just below him was the nest where his two young sons and one daughter sat, hungry and eager for adventure.

They screeched at their father, begging to go out on their own for a few hours. They wanted to see things for themselves. They liked the stories their parents told them, but they wanted to see life outside the nest with their own eyes.

One day the father eagle grew tired of their screeching and told them they could go out by themselves until the sun was directly overhead. They scrambled out of their nest, laughing and singing. They started to go down the rocky hill, not realizing how steep it was and they ended up tumbling half way down the hill, rolling, hitting rocks, scratching themselves on the sharp weeds.

Father eagle looked down at them and just shook his head. He felt one of his feathers moan. He looked down at the feather and was shocked to see that it had turned gray.

So, the process had begun; the graying of aneagle along the path of his growing and wild children. Father eagle chuckled to himselfas he watched his children, remembering what he did when he was young eagle.

One evening at sunset, young eagle decided to go on a night-flight on his own, without telling his parents. He took off into the darkening sky with confidence.

As he moved into the night a great wind came over the forest and set the tree topes to dancing and swaying.

Young eagle was flying low and misjudged one of the tree tops. The tree scraped his belly, grabbed at his wings and almost took him down. Young eagle barely got away.

He then decided to fly really low, through the branches of the trees.

Suddenly he came upon a great owl, the owl was so frightened that he shot straight up towards young eagle and slammed into young eagle's left wing.

They both fell towards the ground, but managed to pull out of the fall with their strong wings.

Young eagle went on his way, moving in a zig zag, for he was still dizzy from the collision.

When he returned to his home at sunrise, he was bruised and scratched up; his father was perched above the nest, angry, not a feather moving. Young eagle knew he was in trouble, but he noticed a small smile of pride at the corners of his father's eyes. He looked at the left wing of his father, one of the feathers was gray. Young eagle wondered what had happened.

Now, in the time of his own children, he knew what happened. There is no end to this story.

By Phil Goldvarg

Print and Color Your Own Eagle
Eagle's Landing

GOLDEN EAGLE (Aquila chrysaetos)

The golden eagles are one of North America's largest birds of prey. They have been eliminated from much of their native range in the eastern United States, with the largest populations now being found in the western states.

The golden eagle is a large bird, 30 to 41 inches in length, with a Wingspan as much as 78 inches. Adult birds are dark brown with pale golden feathers on the nape of the neck. Immature birds lack the golden neck feathers and have white patches near the base of the tail and on the underside of the wings, near the tips. The legs and feet are covered with feathers almost to the toes. Like other birds of prey, the golden eagle possesses a sharp, hooked beak for tearing flesh and strong, sharp talons for capturing and holding its prey. From a distance, large hawks and vultures are often mistaken for the golden eagle or its close relative the bald eagle

In eastern North America, golden eagles are primarily birds of mountainous habitats, especially deciduous forests with open grassy areas. In the west, their habitats are more varied.

Golden eagles feed mostly on small mammals such as rabbits and rodents but occasionally may take larger prey. Eagles, with their extremely sharp vision, can spot their prey from long distances. It is believed that an eagle can probably see a rabbit from as far away as two miles!

Eagles are well known for their habit of building large nests measuring several feet across. These nests are used year after year with new material being added each season. Nests are usually built in a tall tree or sometimes on a rocky ledge and consist mostly of large and small sticks. Golden eagles lay 2 to 3 eggs, which are unmarked or slightly speckled with brown. Occasionally, the male may help the female incubate the eggs, which may take as long as 50 days. At hatching, a baby golden eagle weighs only about 3 ounces. The young grow rapidly and after 45 days, the same chick may weigh 40 times as much. Both of the parents help to feed the young, which may stay in the nest up to 75 days before they are able to fly.

Like many other predators, the golden eagle has been persecuted by man to the point that their numbers have declined dramatically. In the past, eagles were often blamed for attacks on domesticated animals such as young sheep and chickens. Although eagles might occasionally attack one of these animals, the damage was greatly exaggerated. Nevertheless, bounties were offered and many thousands of both golden and bald eagles were shot and killed. Like many other animals, eagles have also suffered from loss of habitat, especially the large wilderness areas it takes to support them. "Hacking" or artificial raising of young golden eagles in a wild setting, has taken place in many places in the hope that those birds will someday return to breed in those areas.

The golden eagle is now fully protected by law, although illegal hunting and killing still occurs from time to time. Possession of live or dead eagles or their feathers, without special permits, is a federal offense, punishable by stiff fines and possible prison sentences. Native American Indians however, are allowed to possess eagle feathers for ceremonial uses.

Learn more about the Golden Eagle

Golden Eagle

pictograph divider



pictograph divider

  Canku Ota is a free Newsletter celebrating Native America, its traditions and accomplishments . We do not provide subscriber or visitor names to anyone. Some articles presented in Canku Ota may contain copyright material. We have received appropriate permissions for republishing any articles. Material appearing here is distributed without profit or monetary gain to those who have expressed an interest. This is in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107.  

Canku Ota is a copyright © 2000, 2001 of Vicki Lockard and Paul Barry.


Canku Ota logo


Canku Ota logo

The "Canku Ota - A Newsletter Celebrating Native America" web site and its design is the

Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2001 of Paul C. Barry.

All Rights Reserved.