We had for many years wondered if we could get some of the Golden Eagle qualities, over all power, foot size and strength, the ability to withstand cold environments and most of all intelligence.
We had both seen Golden Eagles flown in falconry environments at black tailed jack rabbits in the U.S. They are very successful when flown by a competent falconer.
The Harris hawk is well know to the falconry community. Here, in Ontario, we have cold winters which, on some days make falconry difficult for the Harris whose natural home is the semi arid desert. We also have some heavy cover in places where the rabbits live especially when they are preyed on by coyotes.
By crossing the Golden Eagle with the Harris, we thought we might get that hybrid which blends the qualities of both species into one.
Like the falcon hybrids, it is amazing to see how what you envision is often what you get. We have successfully bred the Harris Eagles for 3 years. Using 2 different female eagles with semen coming from our imprint male Harris. Steve flew the first bird very successfully on rabbits. He caught rabbits most of the time allowing the bird to follow from trees much like a Harris. We found the birds drive to hunt was incredible. Steve often commented the bird would rather hunt along with his 2 Jack Russell Terriers than fly to the fist. I saw his bird catch rabbits from the tree tops, off the fist and even from a wait on like pitch. We truly believe the birds real abilities would be in open spaces of western Canada with hare and jack rabbits. Not a bird for a beginner. The birds plumage colors are much like a Harris hawk but much more dense like an eagle. Cold weather was no issue at all.
The first bird we produced had slightly longer feathers down the leg. The next years young, the feathering was more like a Golden Eagle, down to the base of the foot. The biggest difference is the immense power of their feet. The foot is heavier, virtually Harris hawk like but thicker like an eagle. Flying weights were 1235 grams of. 43 ounces. Its interesting to note they appears to be much larger than their flying weights.