What was that brown lump far off in the middle of the pond? Could it be an Eagle? Sure enough, a juvenile Bald Eagle was enjoying his lunch alone on the ice, cautiously eyeing his surroundings for Crows and other thieves in between bites.
We can clearly see approximately how old is today’s Bald Eagle by the color of its bill, a Basic II Plumage. Several years, ago we had another juvenile roughly the same age, 2 and a half years old, which was perched much more closely overhead in the trees. Read more here about aging Bald Eagles.
So very curious about the Bald Eagle that I photographed last week, a quick google search led to some very handy images and websites. I’m still not sure exactly how old is the one that I have been seeing but after searching, I’d say it was three and half years old. Bald Eagles don’t gain their pure white heads and tails, intensely yellow eyes, and overall dark brown plumage until they are five years old.
A side note- You can’t tell the difference between male and female unless side by side; the females are slightly larger.
These were the most helpful websites for aging Bald Eagles:
On a weekly basis I have been noticing a morning battle taking place between two large raptors. The shrill calls alert me to look up at the sky however, the fights generally take place so far off shore I was never entirely sure what was happening.
This morning the two briefly flew overhead. The larger of the pair was a juvenile Bald Eagle and it was in hot pursuit of an Osprey with a fish clutched tightly in its talons. Back over the water they flew, far, far off, too far to take any more good photos, but not so far that I could not see the fish still in the Ospreys clutches. A few moments later the Eagle returned empty-taloned.
Score- Osprey 1, Bald Eagle 0. Will keep you updated if I am again fortunate enough to see the pair flying overhead.