It was a chilly morning at the MN National Wildlife Refuge yesterday, but what a treat to see three immature Bald Eagles soaring over the bass ponds with the Ring-billed Gulls.
One eagle made a dive into the bass pond just as I got there and then flew off toward the Bloomington skyline, so I thought that would be my only photo for the day.
But a few minutes later, the bird returned with two friends, and they took turns circling the pond, once directly over my head, which gives a photographer whiplash from jerking around trying to focus.
You can almost recognize different individuals by the amount and placement of the white feathers, as illustrated in the photos below.
In their first two years Bald Eagles are dark feathered and have dark eyes and beak; each succeeding year for the next three, the head feathers and tail feathers gain a little more white, and the eyes and beak become paler and finally yellow. Click on the photo below to see Ron Dudley’s fantastic photographic essay on “A Guide to Aging Bald Eagles“.