Guardian Nature School Team Contact Blog Project Noah Facebook Project Noah Twitter

A worldwide community photographing and learning about wildlife

Join Project Noah!
nature school apple icon

Project Noah Nature School visit nature school

Bald Eagle

Haliaeetus leucocephalus


This magnificent raptor starts out mainly brown as a fledgling but gets its white head and tail in about 4 years. Male and female are similar in colors but the female is usually larger. In the photo, the bird on the left is probably in its third year.


These birds can be seen almost anywhere in the U.S. and Canada. They build the largest stick nests of all raptors; the nest can weigh up to 2 tons.


I was photographing the younger bird (left side of pic) perched on a snag and facing toward the left of the picture. The perch is probably about 80 feet high. As I had my eye to the viewfinder, taking shots, the perched bird suddenly looked agitated or interested in something it could see, but I couldn't, due to tree foliage to my left. It even spread its wings right there on the perch when suddenly the mature eagle flies in from the left, which I couldn't see until it got into my frame. It happened so fast that I really don't know whether the younger bird was knocked off the perch or, it voluntarily took flight. But by the time this frame was shot (one of a bunch of burst frames), the mature bird ended up on the right clutching talons with the immature bird. I don't believe the birds are fighting--instead, this is a probably a version of the sky dances Bald Eagles do quite often. This image won 3rd place in the Ridgefield NWR 2011 Photo Contest and 1st place in the Your Best Shot of 2011 Photo Contest.

Species ID Suggestions

Sign in to suggest organism ID


Arya 10 years ago

Consider adding these beautiful birds to

Congratulations, well deserved. Fantastic photography.
A super camera and lenses, besides tons of talent.

CarolSnowMilne 11 years ago

Fantastic photo!

Reza Hashemizadeh
Reza Hashemizadeh 11 years ago

Amazing !

KarenL 11 years ago

Wonderful capture Dennis!

emanuelgoyco 11 years ago

epic battle!

YukoChartraw 11 years ago

Great capture and amazing story!

EmilyMarino 11 years ago

I agree with Ashish! I have seen this before where a mature eagle will knock a juvi off the perch that they would like to perch on! Such a beautiful image!

Ashish Nimkar
Ashish Nimkar 11 years ago

Territory dispute..?

Dennis Davenport
Dennis Davenport 11 years ago

Thank you, Brandon!

BrandonBlount 11 years ago

Excellent photo! Congratulations on the contest wins as well! Very well deserved!

Dennis Davenport
Dennis Davenport 11 years ago

Thank you all for the nice comments!

DoinaRussu 12 years ago

magnificent scene! all my appreciation, Dennis!

galewhale..Gale 12 years ago

The story and its telling are as wonderful as the photo itself!! I wonder if this is a previous year nestling of the mature eagle? After this years chicks have fledged or if there is a chickless year, the adults seem tolerant of young birds which I suspect are their own.

IanMichaelIleto 12 years ago

Congratulations on an amazing capture!

Wild Things
Wild Things 12 years ago

Lovely capture.

Hema  Shah
Hema Shah 12 years ago

What a feeling to capture something like this!

DanielePralong 12 years ago

Great shot and story!

Dennis Davenport
Spotted by
Dennis Davenport

Washington, USA

Spotted on Feb 1, 2011
Submitted on Sep 13, 2011

Related Spottings

Bald Eagle Bald Eagle Bald eagle Bald eagle

Nearby Spottings

Snowy Egret Wilson's Snipe Common Goldeneye Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Noah Guardians
Noah Sponsors
join Project Noah Team

Join the Project Noah Team