Bald Eagles 101
"A lot of times, people will see a bald eagle and not even know it. They think it may be a golden eagle, which we do get in the winter, but it gets mis-identified." say Phillips.
In fact, we were watching these immature bald eagles when a golden just happened to fly by and land in a tree just feet above a bald eagle.
"Look at the great blue coming right there, right above it!"
It was hard to tell them apart.
"Everybody thinks of a bald eagle with a white head and a white tail, that's an adult bird and they're usually 5 years old before they get that plumage. In the 4-5 years it takes to get there, you can actually look at a bird and see how much white it has on it, and get a rough idea of how old it is. First year birds are usually pretty dark, 2-3 have lots of white on their body, wings and tail and by the 4th year, they may have white head and tail." says Phillips.
They get pretty big right off the bat, and they're just as apt to be flying with a red tail hawk as they are another eagle. Here at Bluestone Lake, they're on the frozen water looking for fish. Up the New River a bit, you can see a couple of adults on the nest.
"A lot of people come with me, the first time they get a look at a bald eagle their mouths drop open, their eyes get big. Very majestic? Very majestic."
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