Saturday, March 16, 2013

Young American Bald Eagle

Both of us were simultaneously startled while I was walking along the Rocky River west of Pittsboro, NC.

He suddenly took flight from a hidden place on the river flying at a steep angle to a tree branch forty feet above the water. I quickly shot a series of photos.

He kept a single eye on me and remained where he was as I continued along the river in his direction. I could tell he was a raptor of some sort but not sure which, but I was certain he was not a Red-tailed or Red-shouldered hawk.

Returning home, I downloaded the photos to my computer and immediately tried to identify just what it was I had spotted. In the photos, I could see that the feathers were brown with streaks of white. And, there was a distinctly curved beak. After searching the web for a bit and comparing images, I came to the conclusion that I had stumbled upon a juvenile American Bald Eagle.

As I was indulging in the satisfaction of a correct ID, I did have to chuckle. I should have been able identify him by his behavior alone. That steady one-eyed gaze and unwavering courage I experienced, as he stood his ground, when me, the intruder, entered his domain.

That's an American Bald Eagle for sure.

Mature Bald Eagles attain their adult colors somewhere around the fifth year of age, although some rarely at three or four years.

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