Bald eagle

Need ID help from my bird experts

Picture of the Moment

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I believe I got a picture of a bald eagle out in the boondocks today. What do my bird experts think?

Bald eagle

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

My longest lens is a 300mm, not really good enough for serious birding, so that’s the best picture. Here are the other pictures I got; the slight differences might help with identification:

Bald eagle

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bald eagle

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bald eagle

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

26 thoughts on “Need ID help from my bird experts

  1. gigoid

    I’m not an expert, but have seen a lot of eagles, and the beak doesn’t look quite big enough for the an eagle’s beak, more like that of a hawk …. but, the angles and distance make that a problematic call for sure… Any way to enhance by software of some kind, that could enlarge, and fill in enough to keep clarity?…

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  2. JackieP

    sorry but it doesn’t look near big enough to be a bald eagle, also it has black on its head on the side and eagles don’t have that. not sure what it is.

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  3. Jennifer Flint ~ The Aura Reader

    My boyfriend, who is quite the bird expert, says it’s an osprey. The bald eagle has a very large yellow beak. This bird has a black beak that’s smaller and more hooked, with a brown eyeline. Its back is dark brown, where a bald eagle is jet black, and the bald eagle has a white tail. “You are 100% looking at an osprey,” boyfriend says.

    Hope that helps! 🙂

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  4. Decorum DIYer

    I don’t think that is a bald eagle. One, as mentioned by others, too small, and two, the black stripe along the sides of the head do not occur on bald eagles. I live in Maryland near an expansive state park system and have seen many bald eagles in my lifetime. So sorry, but my experience as a nature lover and casual bald eagle observer leads me to believe that is not a bald eagle, but as the other comments state, perhaps an osprey (also something we have here in Maryland, mostly thanks to the good ol’ Chesapeake Bay).

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  5. Ian Beattie

    I have to agree with the majority it looks like an Osprey to me, though the Australian version is not as dark – more of a tan colouring

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  6. kelihasablog

    I have to agree… it looks more like an osprey to me than a bald eagle, but then photographing a bird from such a distance can so often make the “look” deceiving… Great shot though! 😀

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  7. Sand Spring Chesapeakes

    Hi Russel,
    Nice pictures you got there. One might think it is a Juvenal eagle but like others have said beak is wrong and too small. Can’t see the feet really well but that is a give away also as Juvenal eagles will have orange feet. Here is a link to the Juvenal eagle I saw and took pics of the other day. I also posted up a adult bald eagle on todays blog.

    http://sandspringchesapeakes.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/bird-of-prey/

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  8. FeyGirl

    I prefer the sapsucker analysis. But definitely, they’re right… Osprey! Seahawk! We have lots down here, but they’re everywhere where there’s water. 🙂 I adore them.

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  9. rickbraveheart

    Russel, I’ve shot quite a lot around San Diego and what I remember most was how many Osprey there are there. Because of their wing feathers, it’s easy to think they are eagles. In fact, especially in Florida I often will see hundreds of osprey and each time initially think (hope) it’s an eagle. Although the photo is a bit small, from the facial features and colorings, as well as its overall size compared to the size of the telephone pole (eagles are significantly larger) it looks to be an osprey. Whether it’s an eagle or an osprey both are pretty exciting to photograph and you did pretty darn good getting those shots while hand holding a 300mm lens.

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    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      Hey, Rick.

      We have lots of osprey in the County, but I always see them much closer to the coast. I had never seen one this far inland whereas I have seen bald eagles this far inland. We have a nesting pair of bald eagles up in the Ramona Grasslands. I went to see them a few weeks ago but again my 300mm lens hand-held just doesn’t give me good pictures from a distance, even of big birds.

      There are a couple of places near the coast where special nesting poles have been installed for the ospreys. It’s fun to go watch them. One large parking lot for car imports has a nest pole on the top of every other light pole. I was out there watching them one day when one osprey came within about ten feet of me to get a huge branch to take back to the nest. Picture at https://russelrayphotos2.com/2012/03/27/nest-building-osprey/

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  10. Pingback: So much to see, so little time | Russel Ray Photos

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