I watched a juvenile Bald Eagle fly back and forth across the Farmington River in Collinsville near the dam earlier this week. I wanted to help it out. It seemed to need direction. This one is similar to the one I saw. With so much brown feathering I think it must have been a first year kid.

In trying to decide “am I seeing a Golden or a kid Bald Eagle” I came across the Hancock Wildlife Foundation. David Hancock has taught about wildlife and conservation for decades. In 2006 he broadened his impact by using the Internet to promote science, education and stewardship. “Our first live eagle nest cams reached and taught more people in a 4 month period than I had in all my years of lectures combined. This is the way of the future.”


“This first illustration by Brian Wheeler is of the Golden Eagle first from below then from above, ranging from juvenile to adult left to right:”

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“The second is the Bald Eagle in the same order”

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Would that other quandaries were so easily sorted out. (This last is from me, Patty


  • The part of a bird’s leg between what appears to be a backward-facing ‘knee’ and what appears to be an ‘ankle’. In fact the bird’s true knee is always hidden under the feathers, and the apparent ‘knee’ (the ‘tarsal joint’) is the ankle and heel. Therefore the tarsus is really the part of the foot between the heel and the ball, so that a bird stands on its toes. The tarsus may also be called the ‘shank’, and its bone is called the ‘tarsometatarsus’.
  • (Whew! That clears up what tarsi are, er, is?)

3 thoughts on “#Donald is like a kid Bald Eagle:dark (plans); mottled (thinking). No tarsi* feathers that signify “Golden,” just heel spurs for the former.

    1. I love the population of Bald Eagles that congregate on the Farmington at this point in Collinsville. I’m imagining that I can recognize them, but so far I haven’t gotten beyond: “cowlick?” “twisted feather on his nape?” or “is this the shy one?” So, that said, I have great appreciation for the websites like the one I found for this post.


  1. There’s no jolt of excitement to equal the sighting of an eagle….. whether bald, golden, juvenile or adult!
    Thanks for sharing your research and your experience in Collinsville.


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