A few days ago I was on a scouting trip for portrait locations. I made my way to Innerarity Point near Perdido Key and spotted this juvenile bald eagle perched in a pine tree. My first sight of the bird was a silhouette and I thought it was an eagle or a vulture. When I saw it in direct light I thought it may be a big red-tailed hawk because it had white feathers on it's chest. I got closer and was able to see it was a juvenile bald eagle.
It seems with juvenile eagles, they have white everywhere that an adult doesn't. They have dark heads, and their tail feathers have just a hint of white. I'm guessing this is a first or second year eagle. It has a dark head. The older they get they get the whiter their heads become. It takes four years for an eagle to mature into the standard white head and white tail colors. Juveniles also have dark beaks, and they will become yellow at maturity.
So, if you see a big bird and it doesn't have a white head and tail feathers, but doesn't quite look like a vulture, it just might be a juvenile bald eagle. They are becoming a much more common sight along the Gulf Coast.