2 Types of Eagles in Connecticut (CT)

Hello, fellow bird enthusiasts! I’m thrilled to talk about the majestic eagles that call Connecticut home.

Connecticut is home to two types of eagles – the bald eagle and the golden eagle.

These birds of prey are not only breathtaking to observe, but they also play a vital role in the ecosystem.

In this article, we’ll delve into the characteristics of each type of eagle, where you can spot them in Connecticut, and what makes them so special.

So let’s take a closer look at these incredible birds!

Bald EagleBald Eagle
Golden EagleGolden Eagle

Types of Eagles in Connecticut (CT)

1. Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Connecticut is home to bald eagles throughout the year, but their population increases in the winter.

Only 2% of summertime checklists and 4% of winter lists in the state include them.

The Bald Eagle is one of the most well-known prey birds worldwide.

Its head is white, its eyes are yellow, and its big pointed yellow beak.

The bird has a cocoa-brown torso and yellow legs armed with enormous claws.

Females resemble males in appearance but are 25% bigger on average.

Until they attain their fifth year, juveniles possess dark brown bodies and heads with varied white markings or streaking.

The majority of bald eagles’ nesting grounds are in Canada, however, these birds spend the winter in the United States.

Certain individuals, however, particularly those living near the seaside, choose to spend the whole year in one place.

During the spring and summer, the Bald Eagle migrates to wetland areas to nest.

Water areas that are both open and wide and teeming with fish are great.

Bald eagles need huge, old trees to nest in, roost in, or perch on because of their height and width, which provides them with an excellent view of the forest floor; they also need access to water and prefer to nest near bodies of water.

Bald eagles congregate throughout the winter months in areas with dense concentrations of perches near bodies of unfrozen water with an abundance of fish.

When there is nowhere to get water that hasn’t frozen over, bald eagles will flock to open areas with animals of a similar size, such as grasslands and meadows.

The bald eagle is an opportunistic eater, meaning it will consume whatever is most readily accessible.

Large fish, including trout and salmon, are among their favorites to eat.

It’s possible that these birds either actively search for these fish or steal them from other species.

Carrion (dead) fish is another food source.

They also consume ducks, herons, owls, and geese, all of which are considered to be huge birds.

When fishing is less fruitful in the winter, bald eagles switch to hunting animals.

Early on, they prioritize prey that is sick, young, or otherwise vulnerable.

They go for many small mammals, such as raccoons, squirrels, rabbits, otters, and fawns of several deer species.

Bald despite a considerable size, the Bald Eagle emits a high-pitched whistle.

Bald eagles are enormous and heavy birds, therefore, their nests must be as substantial.

They construct a nest out of sticks that are about six feet in diameter and Four feet in height.

Sticks, grass, moss, and fluffy plumage are all provided by the male, while the female is responsible for construction.

Nests built by bald eagles are the biggest of any bird in the Americas.

In the wild, a female might hatch anywhere from 1 to 3 eggs each year.

The maximum number of eggs they could hatch in captivity is seven.

The eggs are kept warm for 35 days by the parents, who take turns.

Whoever isn’t guarding the nest has to go out and get the other individual some food.

Since 1782, the Bald Eagle has stood as the official American emblem. Named “bald,” but not in appearance.

An earlier form of “bald” meant “white,” a reference to the animal’s whitish tail and head.

2. Golden Eagle

Golden Eagle

Although Golden Eagle sightings in Connecticut are very rare, they have been seen here on rare occasions between September and May throughout the winter months.

Among eagle species, the Golden Eagle has the world’s largest range.

When illuminated properly, the golden brown of their head and neck is a sight to see.

Their flying plumage is light, while the rest of their bodies are a deeper brown.

Their eye colors range from pale yellow to deep brown.

The skin that connects the beak to the head is yellow (this is the cere), and the tip of their black bill stands out.

Adults of both sexes appear the same, however, females tend to be somewhat bigger overall.

Juveniles resemble adults but possess a deeper coloring, sometimes almost seeming black on the back.

They possess some white on their tail and white spots on the bottom of their wings.

There are six recognized subspecies of the golden eagle: the Iberian Golden Eagle, the European Golden Eagle, the Kamchatkan Golden Eagle, the North American Golden Eagle, the Japanese Golden Eagle, and the Asian Golden Eagle.

The primary ways in which they vary from one another are in terms of size and subtle variances in the colors of their plumage.

Breeding Golden Eagles across Alaska and Canada spend the winter in the United States or northern Mexico.

The Golden Eagle is migratory, but in the western states of the United States, it stays there all year.

The Golden Eagle prefers high-altitude environments above the forest line in the mountains.

Canyons, bluffs, and river cliffs are also common nesting locations for them.

In most cases, they would rather not interact with us.

Of course, being predators, Golden Eagles would feast on prairie dogs, hares, and rabbits, among other small to medium mammals.

On rare occasions, they have been known to hunt and kill far bigger animals, including cranes, swans, and even sheep.

They often work in teams, with one member pursuing the target until it tires and the other swooping in for the kill.

The nesting season is when Golden Eagles make the most of their calls, usually in response to their young begging.

In most other respects, they are quite reticent.

They communicate with high-pitched whistles.

Typically, cliffs provide ideal nesting sites for the Golden Eagle.

However, they also construct their homes in manmade structures such as towers, nesting platforms, or even windmills, in addition to trees.

They are constructed on a high perch to provide the parents with a good view of their territory, which includes a nesting area and a hunting field.

It may take a male Golden Eagle from around 1 to 4 months to construct a nest out of twigs and other plant material.

They go as far as using fragrant leaves to line their nests and keep the bugs away.

These nests are recycled year after year, and they expand as the adults add more and more building materials.

Between one and four eggs are laid by the female, and the incubation period lasts for around four weeks.

There is a 37-hour incubation period before the chick emerges.

The only American prey birds with plumage all the way down to their toes are the Rough-legged Hawk, the Ferruginous Hawk, and the Golden Eagle.


In conclusion, the bald eagle and golden eagle are two awe-inspiring species that grace Connecticut’s skies.

With their powerful talons, keen eyesight, and incredible hunting abilities, these birds of prey are truly remarkable.

Their presence in the ecosystem is not only important for maintaining the balance of nature but also serves as a reminder of the beauty and resilience of the natural world.

As we continue to appreciate and protect these incredible birds, we can ensure that future generations can also marvel at their splendor.

So the next time you’re out in Connecticut’s wilderness, keep your eyes peeled for these magnificent eagles and take a moment to appreciate their majesty.


Where can I find these eagles in Connecticut?

Both bald eagles and golden eagles can be found in Connecticut during the winter months. Bald eagles can also be spotted throughout the year near bodies of water, while golden eagles are more commonly seen in the western part of the state.

What do these eagles eat?

Bald eagles and golden eagles are carnivorous and feed mainly on fish, birds, and mammals./lightweight-accordion]

Are these eagles endangered or threatened in Connecticut?

Bald eagles were once endangered in Connecticut but have made a successful recovery due to conservation efforts. Golden eagles are not listed as endangered or threatened in Connecticut, but they are a species of special concern due to their declining populations in some parts of North America.

What is the difference between a bald eagle and a golden eagle?

Bald eagles have a white head and tail, with dark brown feathers on their body. Golden eagles have dark brown feathers on their body and a golden-colored head and neck.

Can I observe these eagles in the wild?

Yes, but it is important to observe them from a safe distance and to avoid disturbing their natural behavior. There are also various birdwatching events and tours offered in Connecticut that specialize in spotting these majestic birds.

Last Updated on May 14, 2023 by Lily Aldrin

About Lily Aldrin

I am Lily Aldrin. I attended Cornell University, where I obtained my degree to become an Ornithologist so I could pursue my love of these magnificent creatures in and out of their natural habitats.

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