December 13th 2017 Milgrove, ON. Driving a busy road, on my way to re-find if possible a flock of mystery birds seen two days ago, (possibly Horned Larks, American Pipits or Lapland Longspurs) I noted high overhead a westward drifting, large, black bird. It could only be one of two things, either a Turkey Vulture (too late and too small) or a Golden Eagle.
I was lucky to be able to turn off, leaving the heavy traffic, and follow the bird along a country road that ran almost parallel to the eagle’s line of flight. It was high, almost at the limit of naked-eye sight, but with binoculars I was able to study it quite well and with my camera get several reasonable photos. Here’s one, hardly a show-stopper but as for-the-record shots go it’s conclusively a Golden Eagle.
The amount of white in the under-wing used to be considered an indicator of age in Golden Eagles but is no longer, it is quite variable between individual birds, you’ll note this birds shows a couple of flecks. But the slightly irregular trailing edge of the wing suggests this one is a two year old.
Well, that was quite a reward for a cold winter day’s birding and it would be impossible to outdo a Golden Eagle as Bird of the Day. I could not re-find any evidence of the flock of mystery birds I’d set out for but saw two groups of Turkeys. The birding establishment (everyone else) calls them Wild Turkeys, I don’t, I think calling them ‘Wild’ is demeaning; of course they’re wild. This is a species in need of a new name and I’ve been waging an ineffectual, low-key, one-man campaign to get the bird re-named Woodland Turkey – or something like that. My campaign has gone nowhere probably because of my failure to pursue the matter with any passion. It doesn’t matter, here’s a group of them.