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My encounter with a Golden Eagle?

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posted on Apr, 12 2013 @ 03:04 PM
Ahoy, ATS!

I was doing my daily websurf, saw something about a cryptid, and then remembered something I meant to share here a long while ago but unintentionally put off because of other obligations. This wont be a thread about 'this article says they're REAL, this one says they're FAKE!', this is just my own experience and literal shock as you will read below.

I live in West Virginia and had a friend come out from Chicago to visit me. This was towards the end of January, 2013 so 3 months ago. I was taking her over to a friend's house who lives on the fringe of Harper's Ferry, so there was lots of fields, copses of trees, and mountains in the far background.

Anyhoo.. I'm driving down this country road and I notice 3 BIG dark shapes on the other side of the fence to my right and as I pass, I'm blinking and muttering 'Thats at least 4 feet, 5 feet? No way, 4 ft.. I dont know. DAMN, do you see that!?' at her. Crazy. Note: That was just them standing there, not wingspan. These things were .. huge.

I drove for MAYBE 5 more seconds before I busted a U-turn. My thoughts were 'I now have this awesome story.. oh HELL no, I will try to get pictures.' So I drive back slow and stop for just a second. Now, the funny thing is I'm not the only one who noticed. Two cars in the oncoming lane were also stopped and staring at these giant birds. I honked my horn because I wanted one to flap it's wings for size observation, and my friend was using her iphone to take pictures.

I kept telling myself, do not overestimate because you THINK they're that big. So a conservative eyeball, knowing how far away each one was.. The wingspan was at least 8-10 feet.

In the pictures below, you can see one in the foreground that's probably 20? Maybe 25 feet away from me and it still looks like a monster. It's also standing near a deer carcass/skeleton for size comparison. I think they were actually eating it and my shenanigans caused them to get flustered and leave.

Anyhow, I know Thunderbirds are supposed to be enormous and Golden Eagles are no small fries themselves, but there was one glaring difference that I can't stop thinking about. If you look up GE pictures, the bodies seem to match.. the but the face doesn't. These almost look like vultures, except they're not as ugly.
Golden Eagle

The Black Vulture was a consideration, but their general wingspan is only 5ft. These things BODIES were almost 5 ft, let alone their wingspan.
Black Vulture

I'm off from work today and had my friend send me the photos from her phone.

The red circle is around the skeletal remains of what I presume to be a deer. Thats what originally threw me off was that I could see a skeleton that had to be either a horse or a deer, and could size-compare with the bird sitting there. It was awesome.
White-Tail Deer avg 3ft to 7.5ft in length. In these pics, which are obnoxiously small for this purpose, it's hard to judge how far away I may or may not have been. I was on the opposite side of the road, there was a 5ft or so break between road and fence, and then a good 10ft fence to the skeleton. and the bird a couple feet from that.

You can see the one from the first picture in the background taking off and it's wingspan is almost as long as the deer, which is in the foreground. That'd have to be a pretty big wingspan!

Now, I just bring this up here because it was an intense moment and I do have photos, so here's the sharing moment. Whether truly massive Golden Eagles or small Thunderbirds (most likely not), it's always fun to imagine.. and I cant stress enough, these birds were big enough that I stopped and turned around to gawk!

Thanks for reading!

- Fim

posted on Apr, 12 2013 @ 03:14 PM
sweet thread, I have always loved predatory birds, have you seen this video?

my favorite part is when the two eagles tag team the wolf.

oddly enough i enjoy the sound track as well even though i dont understand it

edit on 12-4-2013 by DocHolidaze because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 12 2013 @ 03:21 PM
reply to post by DocHolidaze

lol no way! I hadnt seen that.. and thats just incredible! Entirely possible that those are what I saw, I just had this overwhelming feeling of HUGE when I saw them.. and I'm 6'5!

- Fim

posted on Apr, 12 2013 @ 03:21 PM
reply to post by Fimbulvetr

When taking into account the size of the fence, the birds don't really seem that large.

posted on Apr, 12 2013 @ 03:24 PM
reply to post by isyeye

The depth of the frames is awful. It appears that the bird is small compared to the fence only because it's not really near the fence to begin with. I'm on the other side of the road and my friend was using her iphone to take the pictures.

I have a much larger/clearer version of each pic, but theyre over a mb and I can't upload them here. When I changed the filetype, it shrunk it down to what you see.

As in, the fence makes the dead deer look like the size of a raccoon, when in actuality.. it's much larger. Maybe 5.5ft long, but it doesn't appear that way.. because the fence-size is messing with depth perception.
edit on 12-4-2013 by Fimbulvetr because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 12 2013 @ 06:13 PM

Originally posted by Fimbulvetr
reply to post by isyeye

As in, the fence makes the dead deer look like the size of a raccoon, when in actuality.. it's much larger. Maybe 5.5ft long, but it doesn't appear that way.. because the fence-size is messing with depth perception.
edit on 12-4-2013 by Fimbulvetr because: (no reason given)

Take the White line from the side of the road. Those are basically the same size everywhere in the US. Overlay the width of said line from fence to bird. Multiply number of these overlaid line widths by the width and you'll get a rough estimate of distance from fence to bird. No way it's ANYTHING like what you remember perceiving. Unless you want to claim there's some huge incline/decline between fence and bird, but that seems unlikely.
You really should have cropped the white line out of the photo if you wanted us to buy into the whole "false size perception due to faulty depth estimation" thing.

posted on Apr, 13 2013 @ 09:39 AM
reply to post by 35Foxtrot

Except with that in mind, you'd think I was standing nearer to that white-line than I actually was.. considering I was in my jeep in the OTHER lane. So.. at least 5 ft or more from that white line. And yes, if you think country roads are 'flat' with 'flat' ditches, go right ahead and use the white-line measurement. But no, there is at least 5ft or more of 'ditch-to-fence' length that you would have reckoned into a matter of 1 or 2 feet. The fence posts are NOT a matter of inches from the road, that'd be really dumb placement.

They need to be away from the road so that there are actually ditches for drainage, etc.. and so that people ON the roads don't swerve JUST SLIGHTLY and HIT THE DARNED THINGS!

You can choose to believe I'm throwing out a hoax because, well, looking at my post/thread start history.. that clearly seems to be my agenda on here. I saw other people with thread-stories of 'This is what I saw..' and the overwhelming response is 'You should have taken pictures. I would have.' -- So I did.

If you think I'd post a picture of a brown crow or a wild game-turkey trying to pass it off as a 10ft wingspan mega-bird.. then I give up. Other than explaining how far away I actually was and how deceiving using a 'white-line' measurement would be (as it appears the fence posts are maybe 6 inches off the road using that measurement), there's nothing more I can say to that.

There were originally 3 of these HUGE birds. I turned around and made my friend take pictures. Other people in the on-coming lane were also stopping to stare because these things were friggin MASSIVE. I apologize for the lack of open-mindedness needed to accept what I'm saying as truth, but there it is. I don't have time to waste on here hoax'ing all you fine ATS'rs.. for what? For nothing, because that would have no point.

On another note, I did not 'crop' the two original photos at all. So you can crop the white line out if YOU want, to make it more believeable. I left it as is, hoping the framing of it would get people to realize that picture is being taken from the passenger seat of a Jeep on the OPPOSITE side of the road from the fence/field, thus giving a rather static point of reference.

Regardless of what you want to say or 'see' in the picture, I've given you the distances. Easily 10ft to the fence, at at least 10ft from fence to skeleton, and the bird is further out than the skeleton. If you want to measure that down to inches and say I was 5ft from the bird, it's a black seagull and I'm crazy.. then by all means.

But see that fence post? The bird would not sit ON it, because the bird is too friggin BIG. The birds head would stand next to the top of the fence post if they were side by side. THATS the size I'm trying to convey here. They were massive and I'm sorry if the pictures don't convey the sheer size, because.. dang. They were huge.

and here is a close-up of the bird next to the carcass. you can see the bird is standing a foot or maybe more behind the actual skeleton, but if there skeleton is 5.5ft long, then the bird is somewhere in the 3-4ft range just in it's body, not including mega-wingspan

edit on 13-4-2013 by Fimbulvetr because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 13 2013 @ 11:55 AM
The bird looks like a turkey vulture. Judging by the size of it in relationship to the rib cage of the deer just in front of i, it has a body that is about 40 inches long.

posted on Apr, 13 2013 @ 11:31 PM
reply to post by butcherguy

Thanks for that reply!

Judging by what I see on the T Vulture, it most likely fits the bill. Wiki says they generally get to 32in, but if you know of some that are in the 40+ range, this could have been what it was. I mean, the birds were big enough that they could have been someone hunched under a blanket if I hadn't recognized it as a feathers instead of fabric.

Regardless, that's the closest answer physically to what I've seen, but the general size seems too small. I only say that because, as a fringe kind of guy, I wouldn't have turned around to go back and take pictures of a bird if I wasn't astounded by some feature of it, in this case the size.

posted on Apr, 15 2013 @ 02:19 AM
reply to post by Fimbulvetr

Judging by your pics . . . I'm going with Turkey Vulture too. Living in AZ, I see golden eagles almost daily. They are colored much differently and even the morphology of the face would be much different. I would also think the golden eagle would be much larger than in your photos. Even the Harris hawks we have in AZ look to be bigger than the bird in your photo. A couple of weeks ago Game and Fish had an expo here and there were a couple of golden eagles on display . . . just mammoth when seen up close.

Here is a cool picture that I pulled off the internet that shows the coloration and morphology difference. But, I've never seen a golden from WV, so maybe they are different? Although, I would think then they would be a different species anyway, if that were the case.

edit on 4/15/13 by solomons path because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 15 2013 @ 10:00 AM
reply to post by solomons path

Thanks for the reply.

And while again I agree with most of what you're saying, I think almost everyone is missing the point of what I've said. Regardless of how big or small they 'look' in the picture, I'm not really using the measurements that you can attempt to glean from a relatively far away iphone picture.

I was there, all I did was have photos to prove that I did indeed see something, and I'm telling you.. this was not some average-sized bird. You say Golden Eagles are large? Yes, indeed they are. Ive done lots of web-crawling trying to figure out what bird matches the descrip while still keeping in mind the massive size of the creatures I saw.

The birds I saw could take down a deer by themselves, were big enough that they could be mistaken for full-grown people albeit in crouched position, and also outlandish enough that not only myself but several other cars on the road were stopped to look at them.

I'm not new to the country or large birds. I know what a vulture is, I know what a hawk, an eagle, what a condor is. Size-wise, these could only have been eagles but even then.. the information I'm finding on birds doesn't quite live up to the actual size of what we all saw in the field.

The only reason I shared this was to get it out there that not every story you read about on here from an ATS member is a hoax. Just because they don't have pictures or it's a memory-thread about something from years ago.. doesn't mean it's a hoax. Everyone always wants proof.

I took pictures just so you all would have something to look at, not something to 'measure'. But go ahead. Use a cell-phone camera shot, and most of all.. please tell me that I'm wrong, I don't remember what I saw (maybe I was that traumatized by some giant birds picking at a deer carcass), I remember it inaccurately (because I always turn around in the middle of nowhere to take pictures of birds that are normal), or that I'm just making it up and am trying to blatantly lie as one poster made comment of me 'cropping out a line' which just makes my jaw-drop.

Which, incidentally, I laughed at.. because as I said, I TURNED AROUND on said country road in my SUV. If it didn't have wide shoulders or the white-line theory that he was running with was true, there's no way I'd have been able to bust a U-y. It would have had to be a ridiculous 3-5 point turn and I probably would have tossed in the towel, but it wasn't. There was plenty of shoulder/ditch room to do it in one fell swoop and I was going to go get at least one picture.

If everyone on here is just waiting to debunk the next story, what's the point of bringing up personal sightings anymore?

posted on Apr, 15 2013 @ 10:49 AM
reply to post by Fimbulvetr

I don't doubt what you witnessed was big . . . that is evident from the pics you took. And not necessarily trying to "debunk" . . . just don't think it looks like a golden eagle.

I'm just going off of the coloration and the way the head (especially the beak) ooks in your pic. Also, based on your pic, I would think a golden eagle would sit up higher (longer legs). But, as I said, I don't know if golden's in WV would look different or smaller than the ones out west where I am at, just as deer, elk, etc are. That is certainly a possiblity.

As someone who enjoys the outdoors, I certainly appreciate the pics!

edit on 4/15/13 by solomons path because: (no reason given)

posted on Apr, 15 2013 @ 08:34 PM
reply to post by solomons path

Thanks again, and I appreciate constructive feedback!

No, you're right. 'Golden Eagle' doesn't really fit.. mainly due (IMO) to the lack of white band on the tail which I know is a juvenile trait, but then looking at the beak and whatnot.. it definitely didn't fit.

Then I did a standard 'the bird is 'x' big, what bird could it be' search, and it came back with Golden Eagle or Black Vulture, both of which are in the area.

Now, my thread was originally titled '...Golden Eagle/Thunderbird' because I was trying to tie-in the fact that my area is rife with legends of gigantic raptors that have attacked, hunted, stolen, whathaveyou from the locals over the past 150 years, including a missing girl, sheep, goats, and a ripped-open roof to a barn.

There was definitely red on the face, but it just doesn't quite match the look of the vulture. I actually SAID 'Vulture' to the girl I was with, but then I corrected myself because (in my own words) 'vultures are way more ugly than that. and do they REALLY get that big?'

So, general coloring and head/beak leans towards a vulture.. but the sizes of the local (turkey/black) vultures are nowhere near the size of the birds I saw. The Golden Eagle comes much closer to size-comparable, but .. like I said: I'm 6'5 and no small man myself, but these birds had an easy 8-10ft wingspan when flying.

Look at the tiny little guy in the background of the one picture, then look at him taking off and flying away in the other and how HUGE the wingspan actually unfurled to be. That's why I wish I had a better camera tucked into my jeep... darn iphones!!

posted on Apr, 15 2013 @ 08:56 PM
reply to post by Fimbulvetr

Golden Eagles are not indigenous to West Virginia. There are no known populations of Golden Eagles in West Virginia.

The pictures you posted definitely show turkey vultures. Those birds can be quite large, no doubt, and pretty cool to see.

But there is nothing "crypto," about your sighting.

posted on Apr, 15 2013 @ 09:31 PM
reply to post by totallackey

Around mid-October, the juvenile eagles begin to migrate south, followed shortly thereafter by the adults. These migrants will spend the winter months throughout the eastern United States ranging from Maine to Georgia. Many will also winter in southwestern Virginia and the remote areas of West Virginia, Kentucky, and Tennessee. For those who know what to look for, the chance to see one of these rare birds is quite good. The migration route of these eastern Golden Eagles often brings them down along the spine of the Alleghany and Blue Ridge Mountains.

Golden Eagles in WV
Track Eagle through WV

And I'll leave it at that.

Big difference between 'I know it isn't common, but I live here and it doesn't suprise me to learn..'
'Tigers don't live in WV, you saw a Tabby cat.'

Thanks, though.

posted on Apr, 16 2013 @ 01:41 PM
it could be a turkey vulture the size sounds right but the zoomed in photo is is a little unclear. to identify a turkey vulture it has a featherless reddish head, yellowish beak and when in flight the back half of the underside of the wing is white.
edit on 16-4-2013 by PureRockFurby because: (no reason given)

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