Golden Eagle Feather
Stuart McAleese (August)
I found this Golden Eagle feather on the top of the Douve Blanche Arete above Arolla and that really is a full size ice axe next to it for a size comparison.
Golden Eagles are dark brown, with lighter golden-brown plumage on their heads and necks. They have a wingspan averaging over 2 m (7 ft) and can be up to up to 1 m (3 ft) in body length. They are extremely fast.
They can dive down on their quarry at speeds of more than 150 an hour, using their sharp talons to snatch up rabbits, marmots, and squirrels. They also eat carrion, reptiles, birds and fish and they have even been known to attack full grown deer.
Golden eagle pairs maintain territories as large as 60 square miles. They are monogamous and may remain with their mate for several years or possibly for life. They nest in high, remote places (which makes the Alps ideal for them), building huge nest which they return to several years running.
In the UK, it was estimated there were about 420 pairs of Golden Eagle in 2007, the majority of these were in the Scottish highlands, although it is thought they are slowly spreading to Northern England.