Click to enlarge

A young Bald Eagle passes over the Great Lawn.
(composite of several shots of the same eagle)

"This is a great montage! Exactly the right way to present these images. My first thought was definitely a young Bald Eagle because the *extensive* white on the under-wings is in the wrong place for any plumage of Golden Eagle. So I went to the books. "Raptors of Eastern North America", "Sibley Guide to Birds" and "Hawks From Every Angle". The even trailing edge on the wings points to juvenile Bald Eagle. No molting appears to have occurred yet which would make the trailing edge somewhat uneven.

The axillaries and under-wing coverts are white indicating a sub-adult Bald Eagle. No plumage of Golden Eagle has this feature. On Golden Eagles when there is extensive white, on sub-adults, it appears on the flight feathers and not the coverts. I concur with Tom but will go slightly further and say it's a juvenile Bald Eagle.

Thanks for the image and for getting me to look closely at the differences between Bald and Golden based on actual photos."

Ben Cacace.


"I'm not absolutely sure from the images you sent, but this looks like a young Bald Eagle to me. The only other bird it 'could' be would be a young Golden Eagle - but i don't think the plumage is quite right for that much less-regularly seen species (less in general in eastern N. America, also much less-regular than Bald Eagle over Central Park). As you may know, the Golden Eagle is fairly common in parts of western N. America and is also found in some areas of northern Eurasia. This time of year, late Oct. into mid-Nov., is a better time of year than most others to attempt to see Golden Eagle in this area. when in south-bound migration. The best-known place in the region to see the species migrating is called Franklin Mountain, which has an active hawk-watch all through the autumn & into early winter, located near Oneonta, NY which is west of the Catskill Mts., a 3 to 4 hour drive from NYC, probably more like 4+ hours without risk of a speeding ticket... and they are also regular on any number of inland ridge hawk-watch sites, including famous Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in eastern PA. I'm interested in Ben's opinion on this bird's identity, and plumage. Nice "montage" there!"

Tom Fiore

Palemale's pellet from October 29, 2010.

Young Bald Eagle (S) newitem206984749