Birder's Eye View

Friday, October 10, 2008

Mystery bird?

I really should be doing homework right now, but alas, I have taken time out to post a quick update on my birding life.

I was taking a bike ride around campus a little while ago, when I saw a blue jay land in a small oak tree on the side of the road. As I rode closer, it flew from the tree, followed closely behind by a medium-sized bird of prey!

Both birds darted quickly across the street, and I was barely able to get a look at the preditor before it disappeared in the palm hammock. From what I saw, it had dark facial markings, a dark back, and tan coloration below the wings.

My first thougth was Peregrine Falcon. I contemplated that for a while, as I turned and headed back towards my dorm, but then I second guessed myself, and began wondering if Peregrine Falcons would really be found in my area.

I've never seen one here before, so I started doubting myself. When I got back, I googled it, but couldn't find any conclusive information. Other possibilities might be that it was an American Kestrel (although it seemed to big for that) or some kind of hawk (although the wing shape was different).

So what was it? I still don't know. I want to think it was a Peregrine, but I find it hard to believe they'd be living in the preserve areas on campus. Hmmm.... Anyone have any ideas?

I do have some good, more conclusive news, however. Next week, I'm volunteering with Project FeederWatch, so I should have some interesting things to report on after that. Should be fun!

Until next time,

Happy birding!

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  • If you think it was a falcon, how about a Merlin?

    By Anonymous Larry, At October 10, 2008 at 6:03 PM  

  • Peregrines can be found throughout your area I think. The only thing that would lead me to believe other than peregrine would be habitat. If it's open, it's more likely a Peregrine. If it's wooded, I'd more readily believe Merlin. From your description, sounds as if it could very well be a Merlin. I know it was a quick look but could you see the underside of the tail at all?

    By Blogger Parus, At October 10, 2008 at 10:19 PM  

  • I really couldn't see much of the tail; the bird was flying almost at eye-level, so I saw basically a profile view of it. It seemed to have some sort of black pattern on it, possibly stripes. I didn't consider the fact that it could be a Merlin -- I've never seen a Merlin before!

    As for habitat, it was an open field/grassy area on one side of the road, and a brushy/palm area on the other side.

    So I guess it's still a toss-up, but I'll keep my eyes out for any more clues. Thanks for the comments! :-)

    By Blogger A. ☮, At October 10, 2008 at 10:45 PM  

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