This article features some images of a juvenile Bald Eagle captured handheld during a recent visit to the Big Creek National Wildlife Area. Last week a friend and I were exploring some birding areas on the north east shore of Lake Erie, when we unexpectedly came upon a juvenile bald eagle.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
Bald Eagles were added to the Ontario Species at Risk List in 2008 and noted as a species of “Special Concern”. This means that Bald Eagles are not currently endangered or threatened but may become so depending on biological characteristics and various potential threats.
Birds like this juvenile bald eagle are widely distributed throughout North America, and in Ontario are most commonly found in the northwest part of the province. Bald Eagles were all but wiped out along the shores of Lake Erie about 50 years ago. Environmental clean up efforts and an intensive re-introduction program has resulted in the rebound of the species in much of Southern Ontario.
Bald Eagles are usually found near a major lake or river as this habitat is where they do most of their hunting. Fish are their main food source, but Bald Eagles will also catch prey as large as ducks. They will also scavenge carcasses of White Tailed Deer and other dead animals.
Bald Eagles are large birds of prey with females weighing 4.5 to 6.8 Kg (~10 – 15 lbs.) and males being about 25% smaller. Wingspans can range from 1.7 to 2.5 metres (~5.5 to 8 feet).
I’ve had very few opportunities to photograph a Bald Eagle and this juvenile was physically the closest I’ve ever been to a wild specimen. To be able to successfully capture a small selection of photographs of this juvenile Bald Eagle in flight was a real thrill.
Given the large size of this juvenile bald eagle, its wing movements were slower and more measured… so I didn’t capture a huge range of different wing and body positions.
This was definitely one of those situations where practicing eye/hand coordination earlier in the season paid dividends, as I only two brief opportunities, each lasting only a few seconds, to capture these in-flight images.
Many of us who enjoy bird photography go out on a regular basis with our cameras with the hope that Mother Nature will provide an opportunity to capture an image that will make our outing worthwhile. This juvenile Bald Eagle was such an opportunity for me.
Photographs were captured handheld using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard process. All images were captured using Bird Detection AI Subject Tracking with a single AF point engaged.
For those readers who are interested in calculating equivalent field-of-view, multiply focal lengths for Olympus M4/3 cameras by a factor of 2. This is the 1,273 article published on this website since its original inception in 2015.
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