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 Juvenile Bald Eagles & Golden Eagles - Differences
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By: HikerBikerGram (offline) on Monday, December 20 2010 @ 08:59 AM EST  
HikerBikerGram

Any Thoughts on this Juvenile Eagle? I'm not sure if it is a Bald Eagle or a Golden Eagle Juvenile.Chin

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By: yalitldevl (offline) on Monday, December 20 2010 @ 10:43 AM EST  
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Mornin' Linda! Thanks for bringing the first suspect to the new thread. Gord has agreed to send these juveniles to two friends in the field for opinions so that will be very helpful. I am also looking for a expert that has dealt solely with this issue that I can use. Until then...

My thoughts personally after studying that guy are mixed. You had posted other pictures of him or it was another juvenile that was marked just like him. What first made him questionable to me was those markings that are not very Bald Eagle looking to me. He has that spikey look on his nape that seemed to be a characteristic of Goldens in my initial research. The problem is his legs are covered so we can't see how far down the feathers go on them.

We can't use the beak really as both have black on the ends at the juvenile stage so it's down to seeing if we can't figure out that whole mottling thing on the feathers. I'll post some more info in regards to feathers

My outcome? undecided but leaning Bald Eagle because of this shot you posted on your thread. Those ankles do not look feathered but the question is, is this the same juvenile as the one you posted? I hope others come and give opinions and reasons for them so we can learn

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Here a bit more info on feathers from the USFWS Citation listed above ...

Immature golden eagles are distinguished from adults by the large amounts of white at the bases of their feathers. In the flying bird, this is obvious as prominent white patches in the wing and at the base of the tail. Golden eagles attain adult plumage at 3-4 years old. Immature golden eagle feathers, with their striking white bases and dark tips, are the most highly prized eagle feathers for use in headdresses and other crafted items. The amount of white at the base of the flight feathers varies with the location of the feather (least on outer primaries, most on inner secondaries and tail feathers) and age (most in one-year old birds), and also shows individual variation. Despite this variability, there are several consistent differences from immature bald eagle feathers. There is almost always a large part of the white patch that is pure white, without brown speckles or blotches (though there may be such speckles at the edges of the white patch). The white patch is almost always a single area extending upward from the base of the feather, not a white patch surrounded by a darker area (as in the immature bald eagle). Finally, immature golden eagles often show traces of the “marbling” pattern of adults, either at the edge of the white patch or within the brown area toward the tip of the feather.


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By: HikerBikerGram (offline) on Monday, December 20 2010 @ 02:39 PM EST  
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Lori, They are two different juveniles. I do believe the one on the ice was a juvenile Bald eagle. But the perched eagle is different then other juveniles I has seen and photographed. Nodding yes The way that the coloration of solid brown plumage runs into the lighter golden plumage is different from most juveniles I see. They are always have white streaks on their chest. The perched juvenile did not have any visible streaking. That is my main reason for leaning towards it being a Golden juvenile. Lets see what others think my friend.Smile


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By: yalitldevl (offline) on Monday, December 20 2010 @ 05:00 PM EST  
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Okay Linda, since you are saying they are two different ones and the perched one has that pointy look on the nape that I mentioned then I'm staying in the unsure category on that guy. Too bad we can't see the legs as I think that's the easiest thing to look for. The one on the ice we agree that's a bald and a mighty beautiful one at that!

Yes let's hope others pipe in and we can ask Gord to send that guy off to his two and see what they say Titter

The following note is part of a letter I got from the Fish and Wildlife Service contact, I think it will be helpful also going forward

One good tip is that if there is visible white in the body feathers (on the back or underparts, not the flight feathers of the wings and tail), the bird is almost certainly a Bald Eagle. Juvenile Goldens have white bases to the body feathers, but these are generally not visible unless the wind blows the feathers back. The ecology of the two eagles is also quite different, and an eagle on the coast or in the immediate vicinity of a river or lake is most likely a Bald Eagle, since they eat fish. Golden Eagles eat mostly mammals like jackrabbits, and are not typically found adjacent to water.

That being said we all know that there's exceptions to every rule


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By: mmud (offline) on Monday, December 20 2010 @ 06:10 PM EST  
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Congrats on getting this thread running Lori. Smile

These are the pics I took Nov. 20/10 at the FVBEF of what I believe is a Golden Eagle. The white patches on the wings and where the white ends on the tail feathers are different from what I see on the Bald Eagles.

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By: yalitldevl (offline) on Monday, December 20 2010 @ 06:47 PM EST  
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Hi Scott :hello:

Ohhhh now that I for sure think is a Golden it's fitting all the requirements right now anyway. I have to download the pics for a better look but you're right about where the white is and ends. Also I don't see any on the body....it's looking good!! My contact at the FWS has agreed to give opinions as long they don't get bombed. I think what I'll do is send off these 2 we have so far then I won't bug them till after New Year if anymore land before that Titter

We need Gord to show up and collect these pics too for his two contacts, I'll fire off an email to him. That way we really have it covered.

ETA: Scott I downloaded those and zoomed in as much as possible and it indeed looks like the legs are feathered and the beak has a dark tip. I think you're looking good to have a Golden! What a crop on him!


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By: Debs (offline) on Monday, December 20 2010 @ 07:08 PM EST  
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Lori :hello: Excellent idea Clapping The only Goldens Wub I have seen up close .... are Goldie and Merritt the beauitful pair Wub I saw at OWL...the pictures really do not them justice as they are more majestic and beautiful in person.

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Hope it is okay to post my pictures of these beautiful Goldens' here...if not just delete my post Grin

Scott, Linda :hello:
Judy :hello: Thanks for opening this thread...


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By: yalitldevl (offline) on Monday, December 20 2010 @ 07:16 PM EST  
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Debs!! great to see you here and of course your pictures of the beautiful Goldens should be here! Wub I'm glad you think this is a great idea. I did too as I'd run into so many questionable juvies and instead of gabbing away on the Content Providers threads we can just bring them here to talk about. I'm hoping everybody brings their iffy birds here and we need people with some knowledge of the two also.

I think this should be fun and I loooove your shots, they sure are beautiful and they'll be great to study to boot Clapping Do you know how old they are and any more details on them? Is Goldie the top pic and Merritt the bottom and do they pen together? Also, this gives me a great idea of how to get some shots from OWL without the fence. You're the best!


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