We present wing-loading measurements for 33 Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) trapped during autumn migration in Montana and Wyoming, and we compare wing loading and other related variables between age classes (hatch-year and adult) and sexes. Adult females had significantly greater wing loading than hatch-year females and both adult and hatch-year males. Adult and hatch-year males had similar wing loading. Hatch-year females weighed less than adult females, whereas the mass of hatch-year and adult males did not differ. Although our sample of wing-loading estimates for 33 Golden Eagles is small, it is the largest currently available for this species and this manuscript is the first to present age- and sex-specific comparisons of this important flight parameter. Our study distinguishes interesting and previously unidentified differences in mass and wing loading between sex and age categories, which may have important implications for energetics during foraging and migration, and merit further investigation.
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Vol. 50 • No. 1