An immature Bald eagle getting some breakfast on the Skagit river before a mature eagle chased him off to take over the meal. Shot with canon 20D ISO 400, f/9, 1/45sec. lens canon 100-400 at 400mm on tripod. layer Levels adjustment and Slight crop in photoshop elements7.0
The young birds, with the exception of their color, resemble their parents, but are nothing like them in behavior. They have to learn how to hunt, and they only have the remainder of the summer to learn. After that, they’re on their own. The first winter is the most dangerous and difficult part of an eagle’s life.Higher predators are born with instincts that urge them to fly, to bite or to pounce, but precisely how to do these things is another matter. Through months of trial and error, eagles acquire basic skills such as lighting on perches or stooping on prey through practice. Eagles practice with almost fully developed bodies, and so sharpen their skills quickly.The immature bald eagle, such as seen here, is sometimes mistaken for a golden eagle. However, young bald eagles have more white mottled into their coloration overall, and they have the yellow beak of the adult. The golden eagle is more solid in color, and it has a beak that is more blue-black, with a nearly black tip.Eagles molt in patches, taking almost half a year to replace feathers, starting with the head and working downward. Not all feathers are replaced in a given molt. Until the bald eagle is mature, the replacement feathers are of different colors. As adults, the belly and back are dark, while the head is pure white. The distinct juvenile pattern, signaling that a bird is not ready to breed, may reduce aggression from territorial adults.As bald eagles age, their eyes and beak gradually turn yellow. The white hood and tail feathers grow in sometime in their fourth year.