Are Eagles Great Pets? Complete Analysis With Cost Breakdown

Are Eagles Great Pets

When I say pet bird, I’m sure an eagle is not the first or second, or even third thing you think of. 

Large, majestic birds, with a hooked beak to tear and rip into flesh, are just not what we envision as flying companions. 

It certainly would be cool, if we can get over the fear, right? 

But we have to wonder, are eagles great pets? Can you even make them your pets? What are the requirements? and so on. Well, we are answering exactly that! 

First Let’s Understand Why the United States Is Obsessed With Eagles? 

A symbol of the American spirit of freedom and a vicious bird of prey, eagles are revered by us with a mix of awe and fear. 

They exist mainly on a diet of mammals and birds, eaten both alive and as carrion. Their most favorite meals are fishes, rabbits, grouse, and hare while coastal eagles love some gulls. 

They boast an incredible array of physical capabilities including a whopping swoop speed of about 100 mph with some species like the Golden Eagle even reaching up to 150 mph.

More than 60 eagle species identified in the world, but only two are endemic to the US – the infamous Bald Eagle and the Golden Eagle. 

A fascinating thing you might not have known about the Bald Eagle is that they have America’s most successful conservation story. 

The threat of lead poisoning was abated in 1991 which gave scientists promise about the state of their existence in the US. 

So now that we have warmed up a little bit on eagles, let’s get into the meat of it!

Can You Make Eagles Pets? Why Or Why Not?

Before asking ourselves if eagles make good pets, we must first pause and ask ourselves if they can be made pets at all! 

And the answer to that is no, you absolutely cannot. Why not, we hear you ask? 

Well, that is because it is outright against the law to do so in the United States. 

With the exception of trained masters called master falconers, no other person has a right to keep eagles as pets. 

The schemes and acts put in place to protect the eagles and make sure of their wellbeing are very strict, even to the point of prohibiting picking up a fallen eagle feather found on the ground, according to the Bald and Golden Eagle Protection of 1940.

Another scheme undertaken by many countries including the United States and Canada is the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. 

This act prevents the captivity and keeping of many wild birds including eagles, hawks, and falcons. 

Exceptions to this act are if you run a zoo or local shelter, or if you are a master falconer.

What Is A Master Falconer? How Do You Become One?

A master falconer is the highest level of falconer, where they have a minimum of five years of experience as a General falconer. 

They must also show their expert methods in hunting and keeping wild birds such as eagles and hawks. 

Master falconers must have expertise in more than one raptor and in that case, they are allowed to keep up to five wild-caught raptors.

Becoming a master falconer is no easy task. You must first apprentice under a recognized sponsor for two years, after which you attain the mark of General Falconer.

As a general falconer, you can keep up to 2 raptors, typically something like redtails. 

A further five more years of rigorous training as a general falconer will then award you with the grand title of a master falconer. 

Even then there are many legal technicalities to pass through before you get your bird.

You must apply for an eagle license, and once you get it you can keep up to 3 white-tailed or golden eagles. 

No matter how experienced a falconer you become, Golden Eagles are off-limits to keep as pets.

Ways To Appreciate Eagles Even When You Can’t Keep Them As Pets

Even if you cannot keep these incredible birds as pets, you can observe them in their natural surroundings and appreciate their magnificence that way. 

You can try and join local bird-watching groups or try and spot them out yourselves.

Alaska has the largest bald eagle population with more than 30,000 birds. 

You don’t need to travel all the way there to enjoy the beauty of an eagle soaring since they are now spread all across the country. 

Bald eagles can be spotted by their bright head that contrasts with their dark body, (hence the name bald eagle!) while the golden eagle is dark all over.

Their most active times are between 7 and 9 in the morning and between 4 and 5 in the evening. 

They can most often be spotted perching among branches of tall trees that surround lakes and other wetlands. 

Although their personal favorite food is fish, they also might hunt in open fields looking for small mammals like rabbits and hares.

Cost Of Keeping A Pet Eagle

Although the possibility is zero, just looking at the final bill of keeping an eagle might discourage you from keeping these majestic birds captive. 

Acquiring the bird itself can easily cost you somewhere between $3,000 and $6,000, while their enclosure which has to be large and spacious, is well over $1,000. 

Add to this various equipment like perches, gloves, hoods, jesses, creances, and so on – that’s another few hundred for you. 

They eat a lot of food, and the food itself will cost you about a hundred a month. Add to this medical bills, a trainer, a tracker, and so on. That’s quite the hefty bill!

Other Birds You Can Keep Instead

Owls, like the Eurasian Eagle Owl, are a popular choice for people to keep as an alternative pet. 

This is mostly because they are non-native and thus require no special license or permit. 

But owls do not really make the best pets, as in they will never be the cuddly adorable flying friend you are looking for. 

The most you can get after years of “companionship” is a level of tolerance, as owls are really not affectionate. 

And this is not to mention the practical aspect of things. Owls need huge outdoor enclosures, and cannot be kept indoors either.

A good replacement is a bird from the Parrot family! If what you need is a similarly huge and majestic bird, you can opt for an African Gray or a macaw, if you have the budget for it. 

They are highly intelligent and social creatures who are extremely affectionate and love spending time with you. 

There are various different species you can opt for within the family, based on your personal preferences.

In Conclusion

So that was a run-down of the logistics of keeping an eagle as a pet, the final consensus being that it is illegal unless you are a trained master. 

Eagles are majestic creatures that deserve to swoop and glide through the sky and not be kept in cages indoors. 

We can always try and spot them and enjoy them from a distance! We hope you had fun learning with us today.

Thank you for reading!

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