Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Golden Eagle with very full 'crop'


"Of the raptors, only the diurnal birds of prey, the hawks, eagles and falcons have a crop. Like seed-eating birds, they use it to store pieces of food. An amazing amount of food can be stored in the crop which bulges out from the hawk’s upper chest as it fills, giving a fully cropped-up raptor the look of a feathered Mae West! Although powerful birds like hawks are not often thought of as vulnerable, they too are at risk when eating. Another raptor may steal their food, or, in the worst case scenario, a larger bird of prey or a mammalian predator may kill and, in turn, eat the raptor while it was occupied with eating."-from Delaware Valley Raptor Center: Raptor Adaptations (an excellent reference).

The bulge in the upper chest of this Golden Eagle I photographed a few days ago here in Fremont County really sticks out so it must have consumed a good amount of food before flying off to consume it in piece in a safer location. SeEtta