Golden or Bald

Asked March 23, 2016, 12:37 PM EDT

I'm having a hard time with this one. Some say the immature golden has leg feathers as this one does.

Grand Forks County North Dakota

5 Responses

Dear Grand Forks, ND, Thank you for contacting Extension with your natural resource questions. It sounds as though you have been birding for awhile. During my research of your question, I went to Cornell University, School of Ornithology's webpage for the ID. Personally, I believe this is a Bald Eagle. I have two reasons for my choice. #1 - the mottling of the bird. It has more mottled white than a Golden Eagle. Goldens typically have full white patches on the underside of their wings and tail. #2 - the beak. Both juveniles' beaks look like your pics, color-wise, but I believe the size belongs to a Bald. As for the feathered tarsi (leg), we could be looking at feathers further up the leg. When a bird is squatting, like this one, the higher feathers do hang down toward the talons. Keep watching. If the bird ever extends the leg you will know for sure. I know we differ on the ID, but you have the better view. Thank you for your submission. Your pictures are beautiful. Blessings. - Andy

Andrew, thanks a lot. I figured it was a Bald Eagle until told otherwise. Mostly I based my supposition on the fact that there are about 10 Bald Eagles in the immediate area. This is about 4 times normal, however, they could be just migrating through the area. l didn't send my rear picture of the bird. I have included it. Thanks for the help!

Andrew, thanks a lot. I figured it was a Bald Eagle until told otherwise. Mostly I based my supposition on the fact that there are about 10 Bald Eagles in the immediate area. This is about 4 times normal, however, they could be just migrating through the area. l didn't send my rear picture of the bird. I have included it. Thanks for the help!

Andrew, thanks a lot. I figured it was a Bald Eagle until told otherwise. Mostly I based my supposition on the fact that there are about 10 Bald Eagles in the immediate area. This is about 4 times normal, however, they could be just migrating through the area. l didn't send my rear picture of the bird. I have included it. Thanks for the help!

Hey Grand Forks, Nice picture! This really makes me think Bald Eagle. He's got some clean ankles and shins. I'm not by BIG water, so I don't get to see these beauties that often. Enjoy the view. - Andy