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Golden or Juvenile Bald Eagle (Wisconsin)


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Northeast Wisconsin at end of August. Unless they are passing through, Goldens aren't common in this side of the state and I am not an expert on them. I know juvenile Goldens can have some underwing mottling like the Bald Eagles.

Unfortunately, not able to get closer nape, talon or tail shots.

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On 9/17/2021 at 8:23 PM, IKLland said:

It might be near it, but not right over it, as that would almost certainly mean it’s hunting fish, and only  BAEAs do that.

Not necessarily. Golden Eagles have been known to hunt fish as well, though they don’t prefer it as well as other things like small mammals.

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On 9/17/2021 at 9:23 PM, IKLland said:

Golden wouldn’t have the spotted white breast area, or be right over the water. It might be near it, but not right over it, as that would almost certainly mean it’s hunting fish, and only  BAEAs do that.

I agree with @Seanbirds, there's no reason to think that you wouldn't see a Golden Eagle over a body of water. They might not fly over HUGE bodies of water but they're not likely to avoid flying over a body of water just because that body of water is in it's flight path. Taking into account that they do hunt fish as part of their diet, and also hunt Seals and birds like Swans and Cranes, it's reasonable to say that they do fly over water. A quote from All About Birds with the last sentence confirming that they catch fish...

Food

Golden Eagles prey mainly on small to medium-sized mammals, including hares, rabbits, ground squirrels, prairie dogs, and marmots. Black-tailed jackrabbits are a key prey species throughout much of their range. These eagles are also capable of taking larger bird and mammal prey, including cranes, swans, deer, and domestic livestock. They have even been observed killing seals, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, coyotes, badgers, and bobcats. In addition to live prey, Golden Eagles often feed on carrion, following crows and other scavengers to a meal. They also catch fish, rob nests, and steal food from other birds.

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