It can be tough to make an ID when the bird is far away. Check out these clues.
Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's.....
It's a great horned owl! Even at a distance and in poor light, the large feather tufts give the great horned owl away. Remember, they are not ears!


It's a turkey vulture! Turkey vultures are large soaring birds that are sometimes seen in groups as they circle high in the air. Their red heads lack feathers.


It's a bald eagle! Mature bald eagles have white heads and tails (both sexes)! Immatures are dark with some light streaking underneath. It may take four years for a bald eagle to attain its white head and feathers.

It's an osprey! They can sometimes be seen flying back and forth over water looking for fish. They are infrequent visitors to Illinois at migration time.
It's a northern harrier! The white tail patch is a dead giveaway. All northern harriers have it.
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