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Utah designates a state bird of prey

Golden Eagle
Utah DWR
Golden Eagle

The 2022 Utah legislature passed S.B. 116, designating the golden eagle as the official state bird of prey.

Utah now has a state bird – the seagull - and a state bird of prey. Utah’s official state animal is the elk.

Golden eagles are found throughout western North America, from Alaska to Northern Mexico. The northern populations typically go south for the winter, while Utah’s golden eagles primarily remain in the state year-round and commonly live in mountain regions.

Golden Eagle
Utah DWR
Golden Eagle

The website hawkwatch.org lists multiple places in northern Utah where people can view the birds, with wingspans of as much as 7 feet.

The Wellsville Mountains west of Logan are a known nesting area. Hawkwatch lists Bountiful Peak, Grandeur Peak, and Squaw Peak in the Wasatch mountains as nesting sites.

Hawkwatch urges people who want to view the birds in their natural habitat to travel in small groups and practice Leave No Trace ethics.

Golden eagles mostly eat small mammals like rabbits but will also eat insects, snakes, carcasses, and other birds. They hunt in the early mornings and evenings and can go without food for days at a time.

Raptors such as the golden eagle can help monitor the health of ecosystems. They’re predators that sit on the top of the food chain, so threats such as pesticides, development and habitat loss, and changes to the climate have the most dramatic impact on these species.

KPCW reporter Carolyn Murray covers Summit and Wasatch County School Districts. She also reports on wildlife and environmental stories, along with breaking news. Carolyn has been in town since the mid ‘80s and raised two daughters in Park City.