The golden eagle

Natural Heritage
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Source : Extracts from the work L’Aigle royal. Biologie, histoire et conservation - Situation dans le Massif central, by Bernard Ricau and Vincent Decorde -- Ed.Habitat

The population of golden eagles of the Massif central is spread out over the southern fringe of the Grandes Causses and the Cévennes, in the heart of or in the connected zone of the Cévennes National Park.

As a rare bird and a species high on the food chain, the Golden Eagle is monitored and particularly protected.

Observations on the land are rare and this bird is not always identifiable in flight. It even passes unnoticed by novice ornithologists. That may be for the best!

The Golden Eagle is extremely powerful and could easily break your arm with a single strike of his wing. His talons can kill and transport a lamb and his sight, like all birds of prey, is particularly sharp: eight times more precise than that of a human. An adulte female weighs around five kilos with a wingspan of two meters.

They live in pairs principally on rocky cliffs but can install themselves in woods high up in a tree. In 2007, twenty seven pairs were counted between the causses and the Cévennes. The Golden Eagle population has been in constant increase in the region for the last twenty years.

He uses the thermic air currents to reach altitude and moves between them by gliding, this at a speed easily reaching 100km/h. His dives, especially in the mating season, are especially impressive!

He is not afraid of men as long as the former is busy with his usual activities, which the eagle observes attentively, from a distance. But if a hiker leaves the path or a vehicle stops or a helicopter approaches, that’s when he takes off. These disturbances, deliberate or not, can seriously perturb their nesting so it’s important to keep a respectful distance while observing the nest (700 to 1000 m).

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The golden eagle