Edit ModuleEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Ten Thoughts While Staring at a Golden Eagle

Reflections upon encountering Autumn, a four-year-old golden eagle now residing at the National Aviary.

Photo Courtesy National Aviary

And now, here are ten thoughts I had while gazing at Autumn, the National Aviary’s golden eagle.


  1. Holy crap that is a big bird.

  2. This has to be the strongest creature in the building, including all the humans. Autumn looks like she could out-lift you at the gym. Autumn looks like she could lift the gym itself.

  3. When Autumn appears for one of the Aviary’s daily Eagle Talks — which occur at 11:30 a.m., featuring either Autumn or one of the bald eagles, depending on which raptor is in the mood — I bet she knows that she’s majestic. I bet she surveys the room with utter confidence. Like, “Yes, humans, know that I am your better. Gaze upon my feathery legs and mighty claws. I honor you with my presence.”

  4. Okay, so if a tiny little bird — a song sparrow, say — sees a golden eagle, does that sparrow even recognize that the thing it’s looking at is another bird? A song sparrow has a wingspan of about 8 inches; a golden eagle has a wingspan of around 80 inches. Ten times bigger, in other words. It’d be like encountering a human who was 60 feet tall. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t just be like, “Ah, yes, a slight variation of me,” if I walked out the front door and met a 60-foot dude. I’m pretty sure I’d lose my mind.

  5. When humans turn up at the Aviary at unusual hours — as they will on Feb. 22, for the “Summertime Somewhere” event, featuring bites, drinks and music chosen to evoke warmer climes — does Autumn just roll with it, or is it like walking in on a human in bed? “I’m glad to see you, but you’re not exactly getting me at my best right now,” that kinda thing?

  6. When Autumn looks at me, why do I feel like I want to start defending my character? She turns and stares at me, and I want to exclaim, “No, it’s okay, I’m a good person.” I feel like I want to impress this bird. I feel like I should be giving this bird a copy of my resume.

  7. As the national bird of Albania, Austria, Germany, Kazakhstan and Mexico, the golden eagle can represent every one of those countries in the Olympics, right? Because there are several events which Autumn could definitely dominate.

  8. Love is in the air at the Aviary right now. There’s a baby owl that’s getting plenty of attention, and there’s a female Andean cock-of-the-rock (no jokes, please) building a nest for hopefully imminent egg-laying in the new Andean Mountain Habitat. So ... can we get Autumn a boyfriend? I’d imagine this relationship to be stern and efficient but oddly tender.

  9. How do I know if this eagle likes me? As discussed in thought #6, it is very important to me to have Autumn’s approval. Can she give me a subtle nod? I’d be happy with a subtle nod.

  10. Holy crap that is a big bird.


Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module

Edit Module Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The Latest

Local Filmmakers and Global Issues in Row House Outdoors Week

Documentary films highlighting environmental struggles get the spotlight at the Lawrenceville theater.

The 400-Word Review: The Dirt

Netflix's Mötley Crüe biopic offers plenty of rock-star mayhem, but no insight or substance.

An Impressive Duck Lands at Spork in Bloomfield

Executive chef Chris Frangiadis introduces a tableside classic to the restaurant's menu.

Summer Camp Helps Children Deal with Loss

Now accepting applications, Experience Camp welcomes children who have lost immediate family members.

PM on KD: Spirit Is in Our After Dark Hall of Fame

PM nightlife and culture editor Sean Collier appeared on KDKA's Pittsburgh Today Live to discuss the latest inductee into Pittsburgh Magazine's After Dark Hall of Fame: Spirit.

Duke’s Williamson Transcends the Madness

Freshman Zion Williamson makes this year’s NCAA Tournament, always fascinating on its own merits, even more of a can’t-miss event.

A New Steel Curtain Is Rising

Will the new Steelers zone at Kennywood Park be ready in time for opening day?

Refucilo Winery Brings a Taste of Argentina to the North Side

Dr. Juan Antonio Lora's passion project is linked to youthful memories.

After Dark Hall of Fame: Spirit

The lauded Lawrenceville hotspot is the latest inductee in the After Dark Hall of Fame.

The 400-Word Review: Us

Jordan Peele's new film is terrifying, essential viewing.

Why These Pittsburgh Brides Said Yes to the … Jumpsuit?

Comfort, mobility and style were all considerations for these brides’ perfect wedding wardrobe.

Pittsburgh Tops the List For First-Time Homebuyers

The report from Bankrate.com touts Pittsburgh’s affordability, job market and culture.

On Trend: Add a Touch of Velvet to Your Decor

Local designers say the fabric can give a room a luxurious feel. Here’s how to incorporate it into your home.

Spring Clean Your Attic at This Reuse Festival

Just in time for Earth Day, local organizations are giving you the opportunity to recycle, learn about sustainability and get rid of unwanted stuff at home.

The 400-Word Review: Out of Blue

There's plenty of ambition in this police procedural, but the results are mixed.