Eagles… symbols of freedom, ‘Merica, and Harley Davidson, there’s a certain elegance that’s associated with eagles, especially the bald eagle.
But ain’t nothing elegant about this…
Golden eagles in particular have been known to drag mountain goats off cliffs, have been used to hunt wild pigs, and have even been documented trying to fly away with small children.
Skilled, ruthless hunters of the sky… when you look at your pet parakeet, eagles are more akin to flying dinosaurs then they are that bird you keep in a cage at home.
If you need any more proof, check this out.
Video was captured somewhere out West, perhaps Wyoming, featuring a golden eagle with its talons dug deep into the back of a pronghorn, or American antelope as they’re commonly known.
As the antelope stumbles about, the eagle’s talons dig deeper and deeper, as it eats the antelope alive, bite by bite. You can see the blood spilling from the pronghorn’s back, both from the talons and the pecks.
If there’s a worse way to die, I’m not sure I’ve seen it…
While eagles commonly symbolize grace, freedom, and other lofty ideals, they might be an even better analogue for the sheer brutality of nature. From knocking chamois off cliffs in the Himalaya to catching monkeys mid-leap to ripping the bellies out of spawning salmon, these largest birds of prey exemplify predation in all its bloodstained glory.
That savagery is perhaps never more evident than in this video of a golden eagle eating a still living, standing, agonized pronghorn antelope in the American West. Eagle talons can exert 440 pounds per square inch of pressure, 15 times more than a human hand, and lock in an unshakeable death grip—as this eagle clearly demonstrates.
And this raptor’s dietary choices might seem surprising at first, but not when you consider that biologists have documented golden eagles killing and eating more than 400 species of vertebrate animals across their Holarctic native range that includes most of the Northern Hemisphere—North America, North Africa, Europe, and Asia.
The fifth largest of the eagles, goldens have tipped scales to 17 pounds and are well known for entering the ring with combatants well above their weight class: Pigs, sheep, and goats (domestic, feral, and wild); whitetail, mule deer, red deer, and caribou; countless bird, fish, and mammal species; housecats; huge snakes, tortoises, and even sea turtles are all on the table.
Basically, there isn’t much these badass birds won’t try to kill. And when you decide to fight to the death with a creature five times your size, it isn’t going to be pretty and it probably won’t be quick.