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Bald Eagle sighting in Austin TX in May?? (1 Viewer)

peterbats59

New member
I'm an experienced birder, so this isn't guesswork, but I am really stumped. I've been in "lockdown" mode at a friend's place in Hill Country northwest of Austin TX since mid-March. I've seen nearly all of the typically seen resident and migrating raptors for this time of year. But night before last, my friend and I both saw a VERY large raptor, much larger than our Red-tailed and Swainson's Hawks, with a pale breast and body below, dark head, looking nothing like the vultures and other hawks, kites, and caracaras we always see, and with what we estimated at larger than 6-foot wingspan. It was early dusk -- too early in the evening to see the resident Great Horned Owls in the area, and it was not flying like an owl, in any event; it was riding into a stiff breeze, heading away from us, wings occasionally rocking from side to side. The only thing I can come up with was a 2-3 year old Bald Eagle, which we do see here in winter and through early spring, but which should have headed north a good while ago. Any other suggestions would be welcomed, but if folks think it could actually have been a Bald Eagle still in central Texas on May 22, that would be good to know, as well. Thanks for reading.
 

nartreb

Speak softly and carry a long lens
Your description doesn't really scream "bald eagle" to me, but I don't have any better ideas.

Location would make it noteworthy, but certainly possible. E-Bird shows a sighting or two every couple of years in May, same for June. Mostly near Webberville.
 

peterbats59

New member
Your description doesn't really scream "bald eagle" to me, but I don't have any better ideas.

It certainly wasn't a mature bald eagle, if that is indeed what it was. A 2 or 3 year old would at least possibly have the pale underside, at least at a distance. I know it wasn't a perfect fit, but I can't come up with anything better.
 

Nutcracker

Stop Brexit!
They don't breed until they are 4-5 years old; a young bird won't be in any hurry to move north, and might well stay in the wintering range for the whole summer to avoid competing with breeding pairs. Seems very plausible to me :t:
 

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