1. English and Scientific names: Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos

2. Number of individuals, sexes, ages, general plumage (e.g., 2 in alternate plumage): One.

3. Locality: Parish:   ________Union/Ouachita Parish__________________________

   Specific Locality:___Mollicy Farms unit of Upper Ouachita NWR, LA_As best I can tell from Google Earth – viewing point was 32.86575, -92.04138.  Bird was to our East.


4. Date(s) when observed: Dec 28, 2013

5. Time(s) of day when observed: around midday (exact time stamp should be on John Dillon’s photo)

6. Reporting observer and address: Tim Keyes, Brunswick GA. (Nongame Bird biologist with the GA Department of Natural Resources)

7. Other observers accompanying reporter who also identified the bird(s): Gerry Click and John Dillon

8. Other observers who independently identified the bird(s):

9. Light conditions (position of bird in relation to shade and to direction and amount of light): overcast day – midday.  

10. Optical equipment (type, power, condition): Gerry Click’s Bushnell Spotting Scope (20-60X I think)

11. Distance to bird(s): at closest, 200-300 hundred yards, watched it fly to a distant tree-line – likely over a km away when perched.  

12. Duration of observation: First and best viewing – bird was in flight and visible for several minutes (probably approaching 5 min).  John, Gerry and I were all able to get good looks through the scope of the bird from all angles as it circled and flew. Relocated about 5 minutes later and watched it fly to a distant perch, where it remained for probably 20 minutes.

13. Habitat: circling over open fields – in the vicinity of huge flocks of Snow Geese.

14. Behavior of bird / circumstances of observation (flying, feeding, resting; include and stress habits used in identification; relate events surrounding observation): Gerry Click first located the bird in flight. All of best views were of flying bird. 

15. Description (include only what was actually seen, not what "should" have been seen; include if possible: total length/relative size compared to other familiar species, body bulk, shape, proportions, bill, eye, leg, and plumage characteristics. Stress features that separate it from similar species):  Large dark bird first seen in flight by Gerry.  Upon closer observation it was clearly an eagle. Having studied hundreds (thousands?) of Bald Eagles – it was clearly also not a Bald Eagle.  Before any field marks were observed, the soaring pattern was clearly different from that of a Bald Eagle, as the wings were consistently held in a slight but distinct dihedral, unlike the flat soar of a Bald Eagle. The the shape of the wings were also distinct – with more of a bulge on the trailing edge of the wing than typical of Bald Eagle. As bird flew closer and afforded better views – several field marks could be distinguished – the bird clearly had a pale back of the head. It also had pale buff patches on the distal portions of the upper wings (near wrist). During at least one bank – the outer base of the tail appeared pale.  The tail appeared weakly wedged.


16. Voice: N/A.

17. Similar species (include how they were eliminated by your observation): Bald Eagle: Soaring pattern as noted above. Too much pattern in back of head and top of wing for a HY Bald Eagle, no white anywhere (breast, under wing coverts, head or tail) for all other plumages of Bald Eagle. To me a Bald Eagle wing appears plank like – with similar width along much of its length, with a fairly straight trailing edge to the wing.  This bird in question had a distinctive bulge on the trailing edge of the wing (secondaries).

18. Photographs or tape recordings obtained? John Dillon took photographs – I have not seen them however.

19. Previous experience with this species:  I have observed Golden Eagle before, primarily in the Western United States – most recently 8/2013 in Utah, where numerous Golden Eagles were observed and photographed under a variety of conditions.  I have also seen Golden Eagle in Colorado, California, Washington State, Georgia and a previous trip to Louisiana.

20. Identification aids: (list books, illustrations, other birders, etc. used in identification): Sibley Guide to Birds,.

a. at time of observation:  Sibley Guide to birds

b. after observation:  Liguori’s Hawks from every angle.

21. This description is written from: _____ notes made during the observation (_____notes attached?);_____notes made after the observation (date:_____); ___X__memory.

22. Are you positive of your identification if not, explain:  Yes

23. Date:___1/1/2014_____Time:____4:20pm___