Eagles in Flight

.

This post is two-fold fun!  I get to share a lot of Eagles in flight and you get to compare Eagles in a few stages of plumage.

.

DSC_0807-1 010123

Bald Eagle (adult)

.

Eagles are born dark brown with a dark beak and begin a widely-varied array of plumage of white-mottling as they mature each year.

They do not reach adulthood with their white head, white tail, and dark brown body profile until they are about five years old.

Here is a chart that I find helpful with identifying how old an Eagle might be if you’re lucky to see a close-up view of the head.

.

Eagle Plumage Stages

Eagle Plumage Stages

.

DSC_2718-1 020122

Bald Eagle (immature)

.

DSC_1101-1 010723

Bald Eagle (adult)

.

DSC_2076-1 062522

Bald Eagle (immature)

.

DSC_9840-1 082222

Eagle (adult)

.

DSC_9870-1 082222

Bald Eagle (immature)

.

DSC_2904-1 070622

Bald Eagle (immature)

.

DSC_1940-1 062022

Bald Eagle (adult)

.

Were you able to distinguish the different ages the immatures might have been?  Sometimes it can still be difficult because no two will look alike in the same stage.

The next two photos is of an immature Golden Eagle that I luckily spotted again just a few miles from my home recently.  Note the differences from it to the immature Bald Eagle.  The Golden Eagle has a golden nape, white patches at the base of the primary feathers, and dark brown wide band tail tip.

.

DSC_1350-1 011023

Golden Eagle (immature)

.

DSC_1353-1 011023

Golden Eagle (immature)

.

Back to the Bald Eagle with a final three-photo series of a full-frame fly-by!  It was exciting in person!

.

DSC_2235-1 011823

Female Bald Eagle Fly-by

.

DSC_2236-1 011823

Female Bald Eagle Fly-by

.

DSC_2237-1 011823

Female Bald Eagle Fly-by

.

More Bald Eagle galleries coming, next perched in trees….

.
.

45 thoughts on “Eagles in Flight

  1. Beautiful images, Donna! LOL! I was just looking at that same chart last night trying to determine if the immature Bald Eagle I saw on Saturday was a 2 or 3 year old? I’m leaning towards a 2 1/2 year old.

    I’ve only seen a Golden Eagle a few times they’re pretty neat too. They get HUGE!
    How exciting that these aren’t far from your house!!

    • Thank you, Deborah! I’ve had that eagle chart saved for a while, it has helped me many times too! Still, those feathers are so varied with white mottling, I sometimes get confused. I’ve read that it is really difficult to distinguish between immature Golden and Balds, so you’ve really got your work cut out for you on immature sightings. I’ve learned the Golden near me is a winter migrant, it’ll disappear in a couple months. So I’m still on the hunt for it for a while! 😉

  2. What a terrific collection of excellent eagle images!

    We’re fortunate to have a large population of Bald Eagles here in central Florida all year ‘roung. During the winter, migrating eagles arrive in big numbers and there are frequently territorial battles with the locals.

    Enjoy the day and the bay!

    • Thank you, Wally! My understanding is the Chesapeake Bay region has the second largest winter eagle population, with Florida being first. I remember seeing the winter territorial battles in Florida when we spent three winters there. They were often, a photographer’s dream!

  3. Well, you know how much I Iove eagles, Donna! This was fun to see since our cloudy skies over snowy landscape only attracts moose at the moment! When I followed Journey the Eaglet on FB in 2021, it was fascinating watching his feathers change. What is amazing is the transformation of their eyes from brown to light yellow as they mature! I haven’t seen a Golden Eagle yet, but don’t they look like a juvie Bald? Very fun, loved that helpful graphic!!

    • Yes I do, Terri! 🥰 Moose, oh boy! I just saw the recent widely shared video of a moose shaking off both antlers at once, it was wild! It has been very interesting seeing all the transformations, some can be sooner than others and take longer, I really can get still get confused. Supposedly immature Goldens can be confusing with immature Balds, the winter migrant we are enjoying looks to be almost an adult and has lost it’s white mottling and attaining it’s white wing patch the adults have. Keep an eagle eye to the sky for a Golden, they love the northwest!

  4. Great information! I found it incredibly hard to distinguish immature bald eagles from golden eagles out west, since their plumage can look incredibly similar. Eventually I had to learn more subtle differences, such as how the two species hold their wings in flight.

    • Thank you, Josh! This past couple weeks, I have actually been studying the differences between the two in flight since my discovery of the migrant Golden here. I’ve picked up on the ‘bow’ in the Golden’s wing too, which helped me. Goodness, I don’t envy you with lots of sightings often, I’d be hairless for sure!

  5. Came back to take a slower scroll through the photos. Love them all. Got a chance to see two that were mostly all black in Ohio last year. They have a pair of eagles that come back to nest there year after year. 😊

  6. Your bald eagle develops in a similar way to our eagles Donna, being able to determine their age from their plumage. The brown plumage and dark beak and eye appears to be the start for many bird species, keeping them more inconspicuous in the nest. Gorgeous flight shots my friend 🙂

    • Thank you, Ashley! Eagles are definitely a favorite of mine. Our winter population increases considerably with migrants, giving us chances to see the different stages of them in small areas. I’m have a lot of fun with Eagles right now. More to come! 😊

  7. it’s always a pleasure to see eagles, especially Bald Eagles. They are our USA! Thank you, Donna. Your post is beautiful. 🙂

  8. This eagle series was such a pleasure, Donna, thank you. It is absolutely lovely to see all these incredible photos of the eagles, and the Eagle Plumage Stages chart is the best I have ever seen. Then those last three shots are truly thrilling. Thanks for the eagle fix today, much enjoyed.

    • Thank you, Jet! With their increased winter activity and bare trees, I’m in our best season of seeing eagles and am enjoying their open presence immensely. Glad you enjoyed, I am working on a four-post series on eagles, next they are ‘perched’! 🙂

Leave a Reply

error: Content is protected !!
%d bloggers like this: