According to Nature.com, the golden eagle is at the top of the food chain, above plants, squirrels and scorpions. Plants are considered primary producers and make up the first level of the food chain. Ground squirrels, which are primary consumers, are in the second level and feed on plants. Golden eagles are tertiary consumers, meaning that they prey upon primary and secondary consumers.
Golden eagles prey on the small mammals that make up the primary consumers group, such as rabbits, prairie dogs and marmots. They also feed on deer, mountain goats, bighorn sheep and pronghorn, all of which feed on grass and plants. Although these animals are primary consumers, they are much bigger than both the small mammals and golden eagles. Golden eagles eat a large variety of animal life, such as reptiles, fish, birds and insects. They are also a threat to farm animals. These birds occasionally kill and eat seals and badgers as well. In some rare cases, golden eagles have killed and eaten other predators like coyotes and bobcats. In a food chain model that includes coyotes as the golden eagle's prey, the chain begins with plants or "autotrophs." The primary consumer group features grasshoppers, mice, and squirrels. Coyotes take their place at the third level, as secondary consumers, and the golden eagle reigns as the tertiary consumer.