[Mnbird] question regarding Superior, WI Gyrfacon

linda whyte birds at moosewoods.us
Tue Mar 3 17:09:34 CST 2015


Does anyone know if the Gyrfalcon currently overwintering in Superior, WI
might be the same one that was seen for a few winters in a row in Dakota
County? I don't recall the Dakota one being banded, though I saw it several
times. But I have heard that the Superior one was banded by Jackie
(Fallon?) over 14 years ago and is the oldest living one in banding record;
not that the views we had of it yesterday allowed us to see a band.

Nevertheless, this was a very impressive bird to see. We had first sought
it in mid-morning with no luck. Having heard it's usually seen between 2
and 4 in the afternoon, we returned to Connor's Point then. Despite 2 hours
of diligent searching from just outside the Peavey grain elevator property,
we couldn't find it on any of the structures and decided to leave.
Before departing, we drove the length of the dead-end road, looking for
another glimpse of a Hoary Redpoll we'd seen in a small garden there. While
we were doing that, the Gyrfalcon flew into the Peavey property, according
to another birder there. We were scrutinizing the structures as we drove
out, and Curt spotted the bird just as the other birder was trying to
signal us. He and Rob worked to find good scoping scoping points.
The bird had landed on the northwest corner (harbor side) of a tall, square
stanchion of metal struts in front of the building with the red "Peavey"
lettering. By perching there, it was likely able to scan the nearby flock
of mallards foraging on the SE corner of the Peavey rail-lot, without being
seen by the ducks.
It spent about a half hour perched, facing the sunlight, affording us great
looks in our scopes at its facial features and belly. It turned its head
over its back, presumably to the oil gland above its tail, and preened a
bit. When it lifted a leg to scratch its chin and pick at its talons, I
never thought to look for a band. Shortly afterward, around 5:00, it took
off, dropping behind the buildings out of our sight. We did not re-locate
it. It was a magnificent bird to see, and it would be nice to know if it
might be the same one that sojourned here in MN.

Linda Whyte
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