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Golden or Bald Eagle?

Posted: May 23 12:17 pm
by NewWestBirder
Captured these images at Blackie Spit Park, Surrey, in April of 2023. I thought this a Golden, as did one other birder, but they didn't seem too certain, and neither am I totally convinced. Thus the request for other opinions. Have provided front, back and side views.

ImageDSC_0306 (2) by Randy, on Flickr

ImageDSC_0294 (2) by Randy, on Flickr

ImageDSC_0285 (2) by Randy, on Flickr

Re: Golden or Bald Eagle?

Posted: May 23 1:32 pm
by jewill
Juvenile Bald, 2nd year I’d say. For me the easiest way to tell the difference is the size of the head and the beak projection. The Golden’s are both much smaller than the Bald’s. Also, if you can get a look at the legs, the Golden has feathers all the way down to the feet, where the Bald wears “wading pants” :mrgreen:.
Here is a link to OWL’s latest newsletter which has, among other things, a very good article (starting on page 9) about how to tell the difference. It still can be difficult though.

Re: Golden or Bald Eagle?

Posted: May 23 1:40 pm
by NewWestBirder
Thanks Judy. I read about the "feathers to the feet" distinguishing feature, but don't have a picture that clearly shows the legs/feet. Unless there is a flood of counter opinion, am going to go with your view. Glad I asked.

Re: Golden or Bald Eagle?

Posted: May 24 2:16 pm
by StevenRoias
For the record, the second photo does show the leg feathering not extending to the feet. This is indeed an immature Bald Eagle. In addition to the details already listed, an immature Golden Eagle would possess a golden nape. There are several distinct features that distinguish the two species, AND body size/wing span is not one of them.

Re: Golden or Bald Eagle?

Posted: May 25 8:00 am
by NewWestBirder
Thanks for this additional confirmation Steven.