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Old 17.01.2021, 12:08
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WTF, there are Golden Eagles in Switzerland?

I have lived here for over a decade and I can't remember ever once having heard or read that there are Golden Eagles here, shame on me! Apparently, not only do they live and thrive here but their numbers are almost at saturation point with 300+ breeding pairs in Switzerland! https://www.vogelwarte.ch/en/birds/b...n%20the%20Alps.

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The “King of the Skies” reaches a wingspan of up to 2.2 metres. The Golden Eagle is the only large predator in Switzerland to have survived the days of ruthless persecution during which the Bearded Vulture, the lynx, the wolf and the brown bear were exterminated. Meanwhile, the population of the Golden Eagle has recovered and is now almost saturated in the Alps. Due to the large number of unpaired single Golden Eagles, territorial pairs are repeatedly involved in disputes. They are therefore regularly absent from the eyrie, which reduces breeding success.
It makes me wonder if I have ever seen one from a distance but not realized it and simply mistaken it for a large hawk or buzzard. Very tempted to grab my camera and a long lens and go photo-hunting for them in Spring.

Anyone else seen one and have any good tips for the best areas to see them in action?

Last edited by Chuff; 17.01.2021 at 12:56.
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Old 17.01.2021, 12:27
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Re: WTF, there are Golden Eagles in Switzerland?

Taste like chicken!

Tom
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Old 17.01.2021, 12:34
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Re: WTF, there are Golden Eagles in Switzerland?

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I have lived here for over a decade and I can't remember ever once having heard or read that there are Golden Eagles here, shame on me!

It makes me wonder if I have ever seen one from a distance but not realized it and simply mistaken it for a large hawk or buzzard. Very tempted to grab my camera and a long lens abd go photo-hunting for them in Spring.

Anyone else seen one and have any good tips for the best areas to see them in action?
Go high and away from habitation. Used to see them, if not regularly then certainly not infrequently either, on some of the more out of the way backcountry ski areas in Engleberg, and occasionally in other high mountain areas too.

From a distance they can be difficult to make out, and colour can vary, but they do all tend to have a distinctive under-wing marking somewhat resembling the RAF roundels on ww2 aeroplanes. And when you get closer, or if there are other birds in the sky, and you suddenly realise just how fskn big they are...

Thanks for the website link, BTW. I've often wanted to look up birds here but never found such a good resource as that.
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Old 17.01.2021, 16:11
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Re: WTF, there are Golden Eagles in Switzerland?

You‘ve probably already figured out that there are some at the Nationalpark - easiest access via Zernez. We did a guided tour a few years back where we saw one, but only with binoculars and thanks to the ranger. Would‘ve missed it otherwise.
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Old 17.01.2021, 16:29
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Re: WTF, there are Golden Eagles in Switzerland?

My wife has seen them in the Alpes
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Old 17.01.2021, 17:27
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Re: WTF, there are Golden Eagles in Switzerland?

They are indeed amazing- seen them many times. Vultures too- even bigger.

We spent a whole day at Pfaffleralp once watching a courting pair- will never forget. Vultures are often seen around Leukerbad. They are also known for harrassing paragliders- that they perceive to be potential competitors or predators, near nesting site at the top of Verbier and other ski areas.

Last edited by JackieH; 17.01.2021 at 18:06.
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Old 17.01.2021, 17:27
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Re: WTF, there are Golden Eagles in Switzerland?

Either Chuff was over at Reddit or it is a case of the Baader-Meinhof phenomenon. (Yes named after the RAF, the other RAF )

Anyway, enjoy the video over there.
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Old 19.01.2021, 02:14
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Re: WTF, there are Golden Eagles in Switzerland?

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Taste like chicken!

Tom
You should have smoked it.
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Old 19.01.2021, 12:11
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Re: WTF, there are Golden Eagles in Switzerland?

Not Golden eagle, but I've had few years ago an encounter with even bigger birdie high in french alps, when walking down Mont Buet, in cca 2800m. In french its called Gypaete Barbu, english would be for Bearded Vulture. Swiss managed to exterminate those unfortunately.

I was a bit tired (the hike has 1800m elevation gain and covers also quite some distance), so it took me a while to even register the guy. But you can't ignore such a beast with wingspan >3m when it literally flies 2m above your head. The sound of him and blow of air definitely woke me up. I was literally under his shadow for a split second. Majestic creature, they have reserve in nearby valleys and peaks, and ie paragliding is forbidden there.

He made few circles right above me, first time I didn't even manage to snap anything, second or third circle luckily I did. Not sure if he was assessing me as a prey or looking for some rodents that I might have disturbed on stone scree (in that altitude there isn't much solid ground to hike on). I was alone up there, so maybe looking weak or tired enough to give it a try.
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Old 19.01.2021, 12:21
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Re: WTF, there are Golden Eagles in Switzerland?

These encounters stay with you forever. I never have a camera with me- and in a way, I am glad. Because instead of trying to get a good shot, I just sit back and let it all happen, and let it print in my heart and soul. Sounds naff- that's OK, but this is how I feel.
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Old 19.01.2021, 12:50
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Re: WTF, there are Golden Eagles in Switzerland?

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Not sure if he was assessing me as a prey or looking for some rodents that I might have disturbed on stone scree (in that altitude there isn't much solid ground to hike on). I was alone up there, so maybe looking weak or tired enough to give it a try.
You were safe . These birds, Lammergeier, only eat the marrow that they get out of bones from carrion that they crack.

That's a great photo. I was still happy with my much less dramatic encounter further down the Chamonix valley. As near as we are going to get to seeing a condor in Europe.
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Old 19.01.2021, 13:01
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Re: WTF, there are Golden Eagles in Switzerland?

Seen many bald eagles in the USA- but the most amazing sight was on the Isle of Mull, watching white tail sea eagles- now those beasts are MASSIVE

(followed by spending the rest of the day watching otters- one of those days that stays with you forever - OH took the photos- I just watched and took it all in).
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Old 19.01.2021, 13:10
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Re: WTF, there are Golden Eagles in Switzerland?

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Not Golden eagle, but I've had few years ago an encounter with even bigger birdie high in french alps, when walking down Mont Buet, in cca 2800m. In french its called Gypaete Barbu, english would be for Bearded Vulture. Swiss managed to exterminate those unfortunately.

I was a bit tired (the hike has 1800m elevation gain and covers also quite some distance), so it took me a while to even register the guy. But you can't ignore such a beast with wingspan >3m when it literally flies 2m above your head. The sound of him and blow of air definitely woke me up. I was literally under his shadow for a split second. Majestic creature, they have reserve in nearby valleys and peaks, and ie paragliding is forbidden there.

He made few circles right above me, first time I didn't even manage to snap anything, second or third circle luckily I did. Not sure if he was assessing me as a prey or looking for some rodents that I might have disturbed on stone scree (in that altitude there isn't much solid ground to hike on). I was alone up there, so maybe looking weak or tired enough to give it a try.
Holy crap that is huge. Imagine waking up a couple of minutes later to find him perched on your chest.
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Old 19.01.2021, 16:03
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Re: WTF, there are Golden Eagles in Switzerland?

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Taste like chicken!

Tom
https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=366078374208579
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Old 19.01.2021, 16:28
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Re: WTF, there are Golden Eagles in Switzerland?

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Holy crap that is huge. Imagine waking up a couple of minutes later to find him perched on your chest.
Do you often wake up with a big bird on your chest?
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Old 19.01.2021, 16:33
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Re: WTF, there are Golden Eagles in Switzerland?

All this talk of big birds prompted me to look back through all the pictures I could find of a trip to Patagonia in 2009. I didn't find what I was looking for, but the memories are still there of three or four juvenile Condors practising their flying skills from a ridge just a few metres above us. Just pushing off and gliding in the 20kph wind coming up the mountain side, then setting back down again.

Almost fully grown with a wingspan pushing 3m, they were the most impressive birds I've ever seen, by a long chalk.
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Old 19.01.2021, 19:13
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Re: WTF, there are Golden Eagles in Switzerland?

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All this talk of big birds prompted me to look back through all the pictures I could find of a trip to Patagonia in 2009. I didn't find what I was looking for, but the memories are still there of three or four juvenile Condors practising their flying skills from a ridge just a few metres above us. Just pushing off and gliding in the 20kph wind coming up the mountain side, then setting back down again.

Almost fully grown with a wingspan pushing 3m, they were the most impressive birds I've ever seen, by a long chalk.
Must have been quite a sight.

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Do you often wake up with a big bird on your chest?
Do you have something against big birds?
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Old 19.01.2021, 19:19
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Re: WTF, there are Golden Eagles in Switzerland?

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Must have been quite a sight.

Do you have something against big birds?
I have had.

The wedge-tailed eagles in the Snowy mountains in Australia will physically attack your paraglider if you fly too close to their nesting areas.

Not scary but a bit alarming at the time.

Great thread by the way.
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Old 19.01.2021, 19:21
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Re: WTF, there are Golden Eagles in Switzerland?

So do Golden Eagles in Switzerland- so the answer is- keep away from their nesting sites- they have been there a lot longer than you.
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Old 19.01.2021, 20:56
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Re: WTF, there are Golden Eagles in Switzerland?

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So do Golden Eagles in Switzerland- so the answer is- keep away from their nesting sites- they have been there a lot longer than you.
Nesting areas are marked on maps here in Switzerland as no-fly zones. It's not so easy in the middle of nowhere.
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