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Golden Eagle upperwings

posted by Jerry Liguori at
on Tuesday, May 31, 2011 

Now that Hawks at a Distance has been out for a few months, one comment I thought I would get but didn't yet, I'll address here. Yes, the Golden Eagle on the bottom right of page 155 (see photo above) has white on the upperside of the wings. Some people may think the white showing is the pale leading edge of the wings that many Golden Eagles show, appearing white due to the lighting. But, this individual actually has white on the upperwings. I published this ID pitfall before (pg. 125 of Hawks From Every Angle) and have seen it in the field many times. I even have a print of a Golden Eagle in my basement showing this very effect.

The fact is that some Golden Eagles, especially in the Intermountain West, actually have white areas on the upperwing coverts. People in Utah may know this from spending time in the West Desert where some of these birds with white on the upperwings occur. Maybe I should I have left that photo out of the guide, but too late now…and I wanted to show things that could be tricky in the field, and this is one of them!

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Blogger Tim Avery said...

This is a cool field mark. You can see it when they're perched and are close enough to see the detail--like this bird:

Perched Golden Eagle

June 1, 2011 at 9:11 AM  
Anonymous m is for mike said...

Thanks for this field mark Jerry. Though sightings are quite common in the west desert, the topside detail of GEs often goes unnoticed because of their high flight and minimal flapping. Nice pics- it's not easy to get above those things!

June 1, 2011 at 10:30 AM  

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