As I was walking home from birding the West Broward WCA this morning, an immature Bald Eagle flew up from the surface of the unpaved portion of Miramar Parkway just west of the barricades at SW 192nd Terrace (entrance to Monaco Cove). It was cloudy and the bird was flying directly away to the east into the sunlight. My impression was that it was dark overall, resembling a first year (juvenile) bird. When I processed my only 2 decent shots it appears to have some white on its belly and flanks. Yet it does not exhibit signs of molting its flight feathers-- they are uniform and in good shape. The second photo was badly out of focus so I had to sharpen it. I believe it supports my observation that the flight feathers are uniform and do not show signs of molt, so I will stick with my ID as a juvenile (first year) bird.
In our experience it has been unusual to see juveniles or other immature eagles during the summer months, as we assumed they wander northward and do not return until around October or November.
Any idea why it would hang out on the "unpaved" portion of the Miramar
Parkway? I am asking because I am thinking about the Miramar Osprey that
got burned in the paving operations somehow. Wondering if there is a
reason they would be there, and just mistakenly land on something newly
Regards - Kelly
SFAS's Project Perch
Kelly, I did not tell the whole story. I was walking out pretty fast as rain was threatening, but I heard a Red-shouldered Hawk calling up ahead. As I approached the area it sounded as if it was in one of the tall Royal Palms along the road, so my attention was focused there. The eagle rose up in front of me, but I did not actually see it sitting on the road. I assumed that it was just taking off because it had to gain momentum as it rose. It could have been swooping low because it turned out that the hawk was harassing the eagle. The hawk chased the eagle for a few seconds after it had gained altitude. It's possible that the eagle grounded itself because the hawk was bothering it.
I did check the roadway to see if there was any evidence of carrion or prey but found none. The shoulder had been mowed only the day before and this often kills rodents and snakes that attract scavengers.
By the way, yesterday they mowed right over the site of the Common Ground-Dove nest. This is what it looked like this morning: