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    • Noah
      Participant
      Chirps: 15
      noahvt
      Hi all, I took this photo of a large raptor, and didn't know what it was. Someone told me it's a juvenile Bald Eagle. Could anyone tell me what ID features I should be using to know that it's a Bald Eagle? Thanks! bird1
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    • Nouran the Birdie
      Participant
      Chirps: 11
      BirdGal435
      I suspect it to be a bald eagle juvenile or a black kite.
    • Claire
      Participant
      Chirps: 1
      flip13
      Soooo... is it a bald eagle?
    • TomW
      Participant
      Chirps: 10
      tom.wnuk
      Noah, If you haven’t already you may want to do one or more of the following. Apologize if you’re way beyond this level already.
      • purchase a field guide from folks like Kenn Kaufman, David Sibley, etc..
      • Mobile  field guide for your phone such as iBird (they have various versions) and I believe these are available for both iPhone and Android
      • install Merlin and eBird on your mobile phone
      • Enroll in some of the Cornell Academy courses
      These guides and classes will help you understand the basics on what to look for and how to identify any bird.  When looking at Raptors, it’s always harder when looking at juveniles and first hatch year birds. Eagles are significantly larger overall compared to other raptors especially the Hawk family. One thing that really stands out on Eagles are the very large beak and feet. If you compare this to a red-tail hawk, you’ll see the difference right away. Try and compare the beak length the size of their heads meaning the Eagles beak is not only thick with a dramatic hook in front but it’s about 1/2 the size in length of its overall head.  Compare that to a red-tail, which is maybe 1/3 the length of its head.  There are other field marks that you’ll want to look for and that’s where the field guides come in. The best way to learn is to just get out and see as many birds as you can and over time, these things will get easier and you’ll want to tackle the LBJ’s (little brown job, sparrows, etc) or Gulls....now it gets fun and frustrating but you’ll never stop once hooked. Oh, and keep asking questions because it helps everyone, even the best Birders, imho. good luck and happy birding. -tom
      • Carolyn
        Participant
        Chirps: 1
        cpilzninski
        Wonderful photo! The above response is excellent for anyone wanting to learn more about birds. As a newbie birder I find Merlin Bird ID and iBird Pro -- both smart phone apps -- to be very helpful in making an initial identification.  Both show multiple photos including male, female, and juvenile -- along with other pertinent info. It can also be helpful to google "eagle pics" or "juvenile eagle photos" or whatever bird it is you're looking for.  Looking at multiple photos can shows variations of what the bird looks like in varying activities -- e.g.  perching, soaring, foraging, etc and  can be very helpful for current and future ID. When I am stumped by a bird (although I have a suspicion about what it might be) I check photos, drawings, or written descriptions of what the juvenile version looks like. I have also found studying the silhouettes of birds in flight or perching to be a helpful guide in making an identification.  You are not always lucky enough to take such a detailed photo as the one posted above.
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