Eagle lifting power

Ruth Taylor rutht at seanet.com
Mon Sep 2 17:43:43 PDT 2002


Hi All:

The book Eagle's Plume, by Bruce Beans, addresses some of the stories about
lifting power by various eagles, including Bald Eagles (the subject of the
book), Golden Eagles, and Harpy Eagles.
I think I'll quote from the book, as it says it far better than I could
paraphrase.

"Were they not so wary of humans, bald eagles probably would be capable of
killing a young child. Since the time of Genghis Khan, eagles in Mongolia
have been used to hunt prey that includes wolves. But to make off with a
child, a pig, or a lamb for great distances? Testing such claims, one
falconer who had trained a 12-pound bald eagle in captivity found the bird
was unable to lift off from the ground with a doll that weighed more than 4
pounds. If the 4-pound doll was placed on a slope, the eagle could fly 30
yards with her burden; with a 6 pound doll, all she could do was drag it.
Finally, if an 8-pound doll was set on the edge of a steep bank, the eagle
was able to snatch it and glide with it for just about 40 yards.
His recommendation: don't leave an infant on the edge of a cliff near hungry
eagles. Other than that, we are safe from our national symbol - but it has
hardly been safe from us."

It's an interesting book - more about the politics of Bald Eagles than about
their biology. I think someone on Tweeters recommended it a few years back.

Ruth Taylor
Seattle/Ballard
rutht at seanet.com



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