Bald Eagle Project

Participants will develop an “eagle eye” for spotting bald eagles making a comeback on the North Fork through online webinars and workshops. Observations can be submitted below. It is important to properly ID eagles to differentiate from vultures and other birds of prey.  Below is a guide to help identify Raptors from afar.

It takes five years for Bald Eagles to reach maturity. An adult bald eagle will have an all white head and tail.  Apologies for some poor quality photographs, they were taken from a great distance and cropped, but all are North Fork Eagles taken this Spring.This is a five year old male in Peconic:

Here is the four year old female mate to the above eagle. Please note the black eye stripe. She is almost to adult plumage. She has some remnant white mottling and black edging on her tail:


Second and third year sub-adults are difficult to age since they is a lot of variability in the white feather mottling. A sub-adult will show increasing yellow in the beak, and more white on the head and tail as they mature.


Here is a juvenile Bald Eagle. Note the black on the beak and the mostly dark feathering with some white mottling under the wings, particularly in the “wingpits” or armpits.

Below are some resources for more images of eagles at different ages.

This one has nice photographs taking you through ages 1-5: https://www.featheredphotography.com/blog/2013/01/27/a-guide-to-aging-bald-eagles/

This helps with silhouttes from below and from the front in flight: https://www.raptorresource.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/Hawk_silhouettes2.jpg 

Turkey Vulture vs Bald Eagle vs Osprey https://www.in.gov/dnr/fishwild/3320.htm

Bald Eagles vs Vultures: Bald Eagles hold their wings flat in flight and have slow wing beats. Turkey vultures hold their wings in a shallow V called a dihedral.  https://marylandbirds.org/baldeaglesid

Silhouettes of Birds of Prey in Flight:  http://fauconeduc.biz/documents/BOPSilhouettes_FEweb12.pdf

Hawkwatch: Bald Eagles