[Close-up of a female golden eagle. She shakes her head and fluffs and lowers her feathers. A wider angle shows she stands on a rocky perch. It is snowing. She spreads her wings and leaps off the perch to take off in flight. She beats her wings several times as she tucks her legs underneath her. She flaps her wings two or three times, then glides, then repeats this pattern. She uses her tail to steer.] 

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A female Golden Eagle flies from her rocky perch as an early season snowfall blankets Wyoming’s sagebrush steppe. At liftoff, the bird spreads her wings and takes a leap. It takes the eagle the first few wingbeats to tuck her legs under and achieve the streamlined shape needed for efficient flight. Once airborne the bird repeats a flap-flap-glide sequence in an impressive example of powered flight. As she battles the crosswind, she uses her fully fanned tail to steer.

Get up to speed on all 34 raptors from across the United States and Canada, in this video-based course by Dr. Kevin McGowan: Hawk & Raptor Identification course