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Please help with bald eagles (1 Viewer)

IDidiot

Active member
United States
I'm thinking here that this is second year Bald Eagles. Seen today on the Gulf of Mexico in Central West Florida. They aren't great pictures. Each one flew off on its own about 10 minutes apart. Thanks for the info!
 

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Nutcracker

Stop Brexit!
In the first pic, I'd say left to right, 3rd year, 2nd year, and 1st year - note the decreasing amount of white on the head in that direction. They don't get full adult plumage (pure white head & tail) until 4-5 years old.
 

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
The one on the far right in the first image looks like a 2cy to me but I am unable to enlarge the image and it is very dark - the head/neck and tail are still quite dark yet there is yellow appearing at the base of the bill and the underwing coverts are extensively white with more ventral white feathers creating a mottled effect. Unfortunately the iris (a good aging criteria) can’t be seen). The single image, (presumably the middle bird in image 1 ?)is older, maybe 3cy the head is much lighter but still with obvious eye mask, the iris is pale yellow and the bill almost completely yellow, however the tail still has a very obvious dark terminal band. The bird on the far left looks like another 3cy (perhaps slightly more advanced?) with still again a dark terminal band on the tail, variable head flecking concentrated around the eye.
 

IDidiot

Active member
United States
I went back through and I've got a few more pics that might help. BE1a is the one on the left of the picture of 3. BE3 is the one that was on the right of the pic of 3. We have two adults that started nesting here 3-4 years ago Marconi and Hatty. The female flies down the canal I live on to get to the Gulf. The male hangs out at a park on the canal (people fish there and birds hang out for the guts). As there are no other adult balds per my own experience and eBird, I'm thinking these may be their offspring. I was pretty far away and photography from a kayak is challenging. Again, these pics aren't good, but it's a kick to start to get to know individuals. Thanks for any info on our five balds!
 

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Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
Thanks for the images.
BE1a - still a 3/4cy for me (I’m getting muddled with who’s who - this is the one that I thought was older than the middle one in post#1 - I think this could even be a 4cy)
BE3 - confirms is a 2cy imo (not 1cy) Primary moult has started, the head is looking more golden brown and the iris is already looking pale.
 
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IDidiot

Active member
United States
So cool. Thanks Deb. Absolutely great fun today out on a low low tide. Got two new species (Willet and Ring-billed Gull) and got to hang out with a dolphin, too.
 

birdmeister

Well-known member
United States
Thanks for the images.
BE1a - still a 3/4cy for me (I’m getting muddled with who’s who - this is the one that I thought was older than the middle one in post#1 - I think this could even be a 4cy)
BE3 - confirms is a 2cy imo (not 1cy) Primary moult has started, the head is looking more golden brown and the iris is already looking pale.
I agree on all your age designations, Deb. I'm surprised you're confident in the iris color from this image (I see a hint of pale around the eye?), but I agree that the more extensive white mottling below, as well as flight feather molt, suggest this is an early 2nd year bird (2cy, hope I'm not being confusing here).
 

Deb Burhinus

Used to be well known! 😎
Europe
I agree on all your age designations, Deb. I'm surprised you're confident in the iris color from this image (I
‘Confident’ is not a word I would choose 😉I looked at these on a larger monitor earlier and the iris looked slightly paler brown than the pupil but it could be artefact. (the light bit you are referring to btw is the pale orbital ring not the iris nor light feathering - the eye is surrounded by dark feathering at this age)

Either way, it can be aged correctly from the features I listed above without reference to iris colour.
 

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