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Possible Golden Eagle, Oakville, Ontario, 5th May 2021 (1 Viewer)

D Halas

Well-known member
I spotted this bird soaring high above my house earlier this afternoon. After this sequence of photos, it was harassed by a crow, which was considerably smaller; the mystery bird must have then flown further away, since I lost sight of it.

The overall shape, and size in comparison to a crow made me think it had to be an eagle. Unfortunately, the bird was high up enough against a dark, overcast sky that my camera didn't pick up much detail. I've cropped and lightened these pictures considerably. No matter how much I lighten the photos, there's no evidence of any of the white in the axillaries or underwing coverts that would be expected in a juvenile Bald Eagle. Is this possibly a Golden Eagle? Their migration through southern Ontario is mostly in March and April, so it would be a rare sighting for this date – I'm worried there's a more common alternative I'm overlooking.


raptor1.jpg raptor2.jpg raptor3.jpg raptor4.jpg
 

rkj

Well-known member
Not, I think, an eagle, which would have the leading edge of the wings straight. Maybe a Northern Harrier.
 

njlarsen

Gallery Moderator
Opus Editor
Supporter
Barbados
My impression of the profile is Buteo. Also: count the free primaries. An eagle would have more.

Niels
 

D Halas

Well-known member
Not seeing crescents, so Red-tail for me (and Broad-wing only has 4 fingers, so not a Broadie, either).
You're absolutely right! It's weird how the mind works – looking at the pictures earlier today, it looked to me as if the underside was entirely dark, but as soon as I read your suggestion, I spotted the tell-tale belly band in my fourth picture. It turns out the hawk was even more badly back-lit than I thought at first. I turned up the brightness and contrast to frankly inhuman levels, and the belly band is finally somewhat clear:

raptor4a.jpg

Thanks for shooting me down, everyone!
 
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