Turkey Vultures are common, large, and dark soaring birds, but they have much smaller, darker heads than Bald Eagles and they hold their wings in a pronounced V-shape when soaring. They are not steady on the wing and often teeter as they soar, whereas soaring Bald Eagles hold their broader wings flat like a board and are rock steady in the air. Immature Bald Eagles have white mottling below, not the two-toned black and silvery gray of a Turkey Vulture's underwing. Black Vultures have a much shorter tail and smaller head than Bald Eagles. They are solid black underneath, without the mottling of immature Bald Eagles or the white head of adults. In flight, Golden Eagles have smaller heads and seemingly longer tails than Bald Eagles, and they soar with wings slightly raised. Golden Eagles tend to live in more mountainous regions and are particularly scarce in eastern North America. Adult Golden Eagles are dark brown overall, lacking the adult Bald Eagle's white head and tail. Juvenile (first-year) Golden Eagles have large, solid white patches under the wings and a broad white band at the base of the tail—a much more distinct pattern than the diffuse mottling of an immature Bald Eagle. At distance, Red-tailed Hawks have a similar shape to Bald Eagles but their wings are shorter, their heads smaller, and you can usually see that the bird's body and wings are paler than a Bald Eagle.
Find This Bird
To find Bald Eagles, head for water, where the birds are likely to be looking for fish. Nationwide, Bald Eagles are most widespread during winter, where they can be found along coasts, rivers, lakes, and reservoirs in many states. They winter in large numbers at some lakes and national wildlife refuges—this list from the National Wildlife Federation is a good place to start.