Close to the Sun in Lonely Lands

A few weeks ago I was on campus, shooting photos of sale horses, when I looked up over the horsey playground and happened to spot this fellow soaring around, obviously looking for tasty morsels in the pastures. I’m not good with birds — my eyesight is too poor for me to be able to distinguish any of the details that might make them identifiable — but I was with Brett, who said with convincing authority that it was a juvenile bald eagle. I just never know if he’s putting me on or not. :D

I snapped some photos with my longest lens, which wasn’t really long enough, and then I looked out toward the treeline and spotted a second bird of the exact same type. They patrolled the area together for a little bit, but by then they’d drifted too far away for me to even bother trying to get a photo.

So what do you think, interwebz? Any bird experts out there? Is it a bald eagle? I find it rather fetching, either way.


10 thoughts on “Close to the Sun in Lonely Lands

  1. My first guess probably would have been golden eagle if you get them out there. But google images seems to suggest juvie bald could be just as possible. IDK, I’m better at vultures. We get more of them in my neck of the woods.

  2. I agree with the comment that it is a tough call, but I think your friend was right–this seems to be a bald eagle juvie. I have not been out birding in quite a while, but checked some of my notes and such. Size in the field is hard to assess. But Bald eagles have a yellow beak vs Goldens haivng a grayish one. Also, from below the tail feathers of a bald eagle are apt to be splotched iwth some lighter feathers–while the golden tends to have a white band at the base of the tail. Either way, glorious shots! I, too, see vultures more often–and like watching them soar as well!

  3. I recall looking up what golden eagles look like in various stages of life and thinking that this probably was a young bald, because the golden didn’t seem to fit. They were certainly large birds, though… no question they’re some sort of eagle, and I think balds are actually pretty common here. The only other birds I typically see that are even close to this size are the turkey vultures.

    The wildlife out here is quite spectacular, though. We’ve had elk in our pastures in winter, and the deer visit most every evening this time of year. Plus I even saw a black bear sow with two adorable little cubs cross the highway right in front of me one day. SO COOL.

  4. Man, I get excited when I see 3-lined skinks. Ah, the “wonders” of suburbia.

  5. What I like about this post was the amount of time I spent online trying to answer the question. They are so close in appearance…I learned a lot about both of them

  6. Hah, I don’t know that i’ll ever know unless a serious birding expert turns up in here. :D I was just looking at this:
    and now I’m leaning more toward it being a subadult to adult golden eagle. More of the markings seem to match for a golden instead of a bald… but I just don’t know!

  7. I’m with Lissa–I’ve now learned a bunch about both, but I’m still not sure. It’s beautiful either way!

  8. My bet is a Golden – just because I don’t see white “armpits” that most imm Bald Eagles have – but colors can vary…

    One way or the other, a beautiful bird!

  9. My friend Justin is a big birder, and agrees that it is probably a Golden.

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