Can You Own A Pet Eagle?

Can You Own A Pet Eagle? Most likely not. But there is a workaround if you really want to have this kind of bird. However, eagles are wild birds and it’s possible that they can’t offer what you are searching for. In this article, I’m going to tell you, why eagles don’t make ideal pets.

Eagles are majestic birds of prey and they are the symbol of the US. It’s totally understandable that people want to have such a bird as a pet.

Unfortunately, eagles come along with a lot of disadvantages. And it doesn’t make a difference if we talk about golden eagles or bald eagles here. In fact, most people just aren’t allowed to keep pet eagles.

#1 Keeping Eagles As Pets Is Illegal

Wild birds are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act in the US. This law was made to protect wild species and many other countries like Canada have joined.

This law says that it’s illegal to keep eagles (and other wild birds like falcons or hawks) as pets. However, of course, there are exceptions, but you will need a special permit.

In the case of eagles there are three possibilities:

  1. You run a zoo.
  2. You run a rescue shelter or are a professional rehabber.
  3. You are a Master Falconer.

If nothing of the above applies to you, I’m sorry, but you are not allowed to keep a pet eagle.

I assume Master Falconer would be what fits your wants most. But it’s really difficult to get this license.

One of the hardest parts would be to find a General Falconer who takes you as an Apprentice. Falconers are hunters and they own the birds for hunting. There is no chance that anyone will take you if you just want to have a cool pet.

Apart from that, you would have to pass a lot of tests and licenses.

#2 Eagles Need A Lot Of Food

Eagle eating fish

Eagles need a lot of food and it should be the whole prey that they would hunt in their natural habitat. That means that you would have to cater whole mice, rats and even rabbits.

Of course, this would be a daily task as picking up the leftover from the day before. Ever thought about picking up minced dead bodies of small animals that began to rot on a hot summer day? I can think of better activities with my pets!

Not to mention all the space the frozen bodies need in your freezer.

There is no chance to get complete and balanced eagle food at the pet store nearby. If you want to know, what eagles eat, read my detailed article.

#3 Eagles Need A Big Enclosure

Eagle in enclosure

Have you ever seen a bird of prey in a small cage somewhere in the living room? No? Me neither!

You will need to build a large enclosure that offers a lot of room including shelter and some space for short flights. You probably have seen this kind of habitat in zoos or animal parks.

And now imagine you would have to build such a thing yourself in your garden. Hopefully, you have enough space, not mentioned all the money this thing alone would cost.

#4 Eagles Need To Free-Fly Every Day

Eagle flying

Yes, the enclosure for eagles has to be big. But no matter how big you build it, it wouldn’t be enough.

To stay healthy and in good shape, eagles need to free-fly every day. And by every day I mean every day.

Say goodbye to your holidays as your Master Falconer license covers only you. Friends and family aren’t allowed to take care of your pet bird.

That being said, it is allowed to travel (within the country) with an eagle, but no hotel, airline or whatsoever would take you as a customer. So your only option would be to visit other Falconers.

#5 Pet Eagles Cost A Lot Of Money

After reading about the big enclosure you might have a clue: Eagles cost a lot of money. But how much are eagles in reality? In this section, I give you a short overview.

The price for the animal itself is something between 2000 and 5000$. Yes, that already a lot but have in mind, that the enclosure will cost easily over 1000$.

Food will be around 100$ per month. But that’s not all, you need equipment like perches, gloves, bracelets and jesses, creances, and hoods.

Don’t forget medical supplies, a freezer for all the food and a tracker so that you can find your bird if it flies away.

We are talking about another few thousand dollars here.

#6 Pet Eagles Need A Special Vet

Most veterinarians are only experienced in treating dogs, cats and some common small pets. It would be very difficult to find a vet that is capable of treating any kind of bird of prey.

So before you even think of buying an eagle you should inform yourself about the vets in your area. Is there someone who can treat an eagle if the pet gets ill?

Often vets who have the knowledge work full-time in rescue shelters, as rehabbers or are employed in zoos and animal parks.

#7 Eagles Won’t Let You Touch Them

Touching a parrot

All the things stated above sound like a lot of work right? And that is for an animal that doesn’t like to be touched or petted.

Eagles will tolerate you and yes they interact with you in their special way when you train them to go on a hunt. But if you are hoping for a pet bird that is social, wants to play and be petted you are on the wrong end.

If it’s that what you want, a parrot for example would be a much better choice.