[CT Birds] Regarding funny falcons....

julian hough jrhough1 at snet.net
Tue Jan 27 22:01:08 EST 2015

It should be apparent to most that the several brief sightings of a large falcon in the Stamford/Norwalk area possibly refer to a grey morph Gyrfalcon.
Although the observers may not be well-versed in the minutiae of Gyrfalcon and escaped Gyr-type hybrids, they are cautious and know Peregrines well enough to say it was not likely that species, which in turn leads us down the wormhole towards Gyrfalcon.

Given the multiple sightings, it is obvious this bird, whatever it may be, should be looked for and for anyone that would like to see a Gyr in CT, this might be worth putting in some effort.

Myself, and I know other birders would be interested in a collaborative effort to maybe spend some time scouting the coastal areas where the sightings have occurred. If it is a Gyr, they can be wide ranging during their hunting, roost on cliffs or tall buildings in lieu of cliffs, or other structures such as church steeples or monuments. They, like other raptors often spend time surveying open areas from Osprey platforms, so scanning these types of areas might be fruitful. 

The more people that make up a search party have a better chance of perhaps locating this bird if it is hanging out along the coast.
I might suggest that anyone that knows the areas where these sightings have occurred recommend target spots that might be Gyr-suitable.

Making yourself aware of the id. points that separate big Peregrines (which are likely to be found in the same area) and the size and wing structure differences will be useful if you do find a candidate. Also, escaped falconer's birds, while often Gyr-like can be pitfalls so observing any Jessie's etc is key.

May the force be with you (and your cell phone!)



Julian Hough 
New Haven, CT 06519 

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