[CT Birds] Gyrfalcon thoughts

Stephen Broker ls.broker at cox.net
Mon Jan 12 13:26:45 EST 2015

The Gyrfalcon present in New Haven and West Haven during the winter of 1987-88 was observed by many as it hunted for Starlings and other birds at the then-active West Haven Landfill.  The bird often was seen perched in a tall dead tree immediately adjacent to the Crematory at Evergreen Cemetery along the Boulevard.  It had the pattern of beheading starlings and dropping the bloody heads onto the drifts of previously white snow below.  Given the setting for the bird’s meals, it was a very surreal sight, to say the least.  The Gyrfalcon’s evening roost site was determined by Ray Schwartz (and perhaps others) to be on the southern terminus of West Rock Ridge, visible also from my back steps when I lived in the Beaver Hill section of New Haven.  The cliff site was marked by a distinct smear of whitewash, much as the peregrine roost site elsewhere on West Rock’s cliff face has been marked since 1999 by a build-up of whitewash.  On April 7, 1988 from the top of the abandoned West Rock Ridge quarry above Konold’s Pond, I observed the Gyrfalcon winging its way north along the West River corridor, the last sighting of this bird during its remarkable 3 1/2 month stay in our region.
Steve Broker

From the ARCC pages at ctbirding.org <http://ctbirding.org/>:
GYRFALCON (Falco rusticolus) West Haven and New Haven, 22 Dec. 1987 until 7 April 1988, N. Currie*, R. Schwartz, et al. (87-48). Photos on file. See American Birds 42:228.

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