It takes a Bald Eagle five years to fully develop their iconic coloring with a white head and dark brown plumage. Until then, their appearance is constantly changing from all brown to the stage of development pictured here.
This sub-adult is about four years old. Its beak is starting to turn yellow and the white feathers on the head outnumber the brown. Oftentimes the dark feathers behind the eyes are the last to change and from a distance almost look like a mask. My kids and I call them ‘bandit eagles’. No matter their age, I find them all absolutely magnificent.
Taken at Cherry Creek State Park, Colorado on March 14, 2015.