Bald Eagle

Haliaeetus leucocephalus

Bald Eagles are a casual species in the Pribilofs, but when an individual reaches the islands, they will often remain for years. Such was the case with a bird that was sporadically seen around the island during the summers of 1996 and 1997, and an immature that was found in May of 2003 that is currently still present (as of Aug 2005) on Saint Paul. Saint Paul sightings of this individual can be separated by days or even weeks. This lends credence to the theory that Bald Eagles regularly visit other islands in the Pribilof group. No other eagles have been detected on Saint Paul but both White-tailed and Steller’s Sea Eagles have reached the Aleutian chain and thus could conceivably find their way to the Pribilofs. Adults of the three species are readily separable. Immature birds are slightly harder to identify and the following remarks pertain to identifying individuals in immature plumage. The large wedge shaped white tail of Steller’s is dark tipped. Young Bald and White-tailed Eagles have generally dark tails. Steller’s Sea-Eagles also show broader wings, with extensive white in the primary bases. Young White-tailed Eagles have darker underwings and axillaries than Bald Eagles, and as they age the belly remains dark (second and third year Bald Eagles have whitish bellies). Saint Paul Bald Eagles seem to spend the majority of their time on the island’s higher rocky west half, although they are seen over the Salt Lagoon and Big Lake as well.