Though I’m not truly a “Birder”, in the sense that I really don’t spend time and effort bird chasing, and only really care about the birds I can see without going out of my way, one of the birds I’d really like to see is a Golden Eagle. They migrate through the area every spring and fall so its entirely possible that I could, but I’ve never had the time/energy to go “chase” reports to go see one.
Back on Monday a local birder reported (report still listed as un-confirmed on eBird.org which, btw, is an awesome resource for what birds to keep an eye out for in your area if you’re interested in that sort of thing) a juvenile Golden Eagle at a location not far from me, and infact, not even that far out of my normal path for errands. So Tuesday I made a point of modifying my usual errand run to run by that area twice.
This is the description in the report from Monday:
First seen perched in a tree facing me & at some distance & through falling light snow. Appeared all dark with pale greyish bill. Feathered head ie not a vulture. Then seen flying with dihedral. Bicolor underwing pattern reminiscent of a Turkey Vulture. Pale feather colors probably accentuated because bird was flying over snow-covered ground. Prominent white in tail with dark terminal band. No white in head. Black & white pattern typical of juvenile Golden eagle but the opposite of a juvenile Bald eagle.
After checking the listed descriptions and pictures of young Goldens I decided it was possible that he really had seen a Golden, which made it worth my time. And sure enough, on my way out I spotted this stunning bird that matches the description perfectly.
There’s just one teensy little problem…..thats not a young Golden Eagle.
That is a “dark morph” Rough Legged Hawk.
Stunning bird, very distinctive and eye catching. But not an eagle.
We’ve got at least one “light morph” Rough Legged Hawk hanging around the area too though, very cool!