The golden eagle narrowly escaped extinction.
Originally distributed throughout Central Europe, the golden eagle was hunted by man for generations, reaching its lowest point at the beginning of the 20th century. Strict protection measures saved it from being exterminated.
With a wing span of 2.2m the golden eagle is an impressive sight - not only for marmots!
In the National Park, the “king of the air” makes the most of an ideal habitat. Prey is plentiful, and there is a variety of good nesting sites. In summer, the golden eagle feeds mainly on marmots, whilst its winter diet consists mainly of ungulate carcasses.
At present six golden eagle pairs live partially inside the territory of the National Park.
Golden eagles mate in January and eggs are laid in April. Chicks hatch in May and make their first flights at about the end of July. Their parents provide food until well into winter.
Golden eagles usually produce one or two young. Weaker chicks are often thrown out of the nest by their stronger sibling.
Golden eagles are extremely territorial.
Each pair generally has several eyries within its territory. In the canton of Graubünden territories cover about 50 square kilometres on average. Intruders are vehemently chased away. For more detailed information about the golden eagle, we recommend «Der Steinadler in Graubünden», by the director of the National Park, Dr. Heinrich Haller; available (in German) from the Swiss National Park information centre or through our online shop.
The golden eagle no longer has any natural enemies; and yet their numbers do not show a noticeable increase. The greater the number of birds soaring in the available air space, the greater the competition amongst them. If an eagle pair have to continually leave their eyrie to defend their territory, they neglect their young. Research has shown that an increase in the number of territories results in less successful breeding.