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 Post subject: Gyrfalcon on Oregon coast
PostPosted: December 25th, 2017, 10:33 am 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 12:14 pm
Posts: 504
Below I have copied a message received on Dec. 17th. with a link to birds observed during the CBC including a good number of photos of a large falcon.

When I ‘copy’ the link to myself then click on the link, the photos will not come up. However, when I ‘forward’ the link to myself, I can then click on the link and the photos of the bird come up.

The problem here is I do not know how to ‘forward’ the link so that individuals on this forum can clink on the link to see the photos of the falcon. Perhaps there is some way that those photos can be accessed of which I am unaware.

At any rate, my assessment was that the large falcon was likely to be an immature female Gyr rather than a large immature female Peale’s Falcon. Hendrik got back to me and indicated that other 'astute' birders he contracted also considered the falcon to be a Gyrfalcon.

Richard F. Hoyer
======================================================================

Hi Richard,

Thanks for the heads-up about the Burrowing Owl, and sorry for my delayed response! Been pretty busy these days.

I also have a question for you. Yesterday, Oscar, two of our young friends and I attended the Florence CBC. Along the South Jetty Road, we encountered a large, dark falcon that attacked a Red-tailed Hawk. We later found the falcon's kull under a tree, a dead gull.

Initially, we identified the bird as a Gyrfalcon, but something about its head pattern and overall coloration made us wonder if it could be a large Peregrine. The bird was about the same size as the Redtail, had a very long tail, somewhat rounded wings, and two-toned underwings, which all point toward Gyr, but the face pattern looks almost helmeted, like a Peregrine.

Fortunately, we got a number of photos, which are included in our eBird list (see link below):

http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S41141910


If you have time, I'd really appreciate if you could take a look at the photos (just scroll down in the list until you get to falcon sp.) and let me know what you think about this bird. I know you have a lot of experience with various falcon species, including hybrids, and I'd really value your opinion.


Hope all is well, and wishing you a Happy Holiday Season!

Hendrik


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 Post subject: Re: Gyrfalcon on Oregon coast
PostPosted: December 25th, 2017, 7:33 pm 

Joined: October 31st, 2017, 5:12 am
Posts: 7
Hi Richard,

Is this the picture? If it is it’s an immature gyr. It’s not a particularly dark bird considering some are almost black. This bird is much like the birds I saw in South Dakota.

https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipP ... oydFNCaGhn

I've enclosed a link to pictures taken by Doug Backlund of birds he's photographed in South Dakota. They should help with the identification. http://wildphotosphotography.com/WildPh ... falcon.htm

Brad Mitchell


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 Post subject: Re: Gyrfalcon on Oregon coast
PostPosted: December 26th, 2017, 10:19 am 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 12:14 pm
Posts: 504
Brad,
First, I was surprised that when I clicked on the link in my message in this forum, up came the photographs of birds BUT minus the numerous photos of the large falcon. When I now just went back to the original message I received from Hendrik and clicked on the link, again all photos of the falcon are missing. ???

The photo of an immature Gyr in the link you provided is typical of the gray phase immature Gyrs I observed in arctic Canada and Alaska and the winter migrants here in northwestern Oregon. Was that photo a the Gyr on the Oregon coast or somewhere else?

The photos that accompanied Hendrik’s email were much darker but could have been due to the quality of the photographs, angle of the sun, etc. But the streaking on the breast appeared to be very heavy and not typical of all other such immature Gyrs I have observed similar to the streaking of the one shown in your link. I also raised four immature Gyrs so have a reasonable understanding of what immature gray phase Gyr look like.

It was such heavy streaking along with the dark chocolate coloration that gave pause to an accurate identification of the large falcon on the Oregon coast. If you look at the Doug Backland photo of the Gyr dated Jan. 17, 2010, it show an immature Gyr with very heavy streaking of the breast which is very similar to what the photos of the Oregon Gyr appeared to show in the photos Hendrik sent.

Richard F. Hoyer (Corvallis, Oregon)


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 Post subject: Re: Gyrfalcon on Oregon coast
PostPosted: December 26th, 2017, 3:42 pm 

Joined: October 31st, 2017, 5:12 am
Posts: 7
Hi Richard,

I’m afraid I made a mistake. That picture was taken by another birder in Troy, Oregon on the 16th of December. That being said I did find out that the good folks at ebird don’t like publishing pictures of what they consider a “sensitive” species ie gyrfalcon in this case. I too couldn’t pull up the pictures so attempted to find another post with the picture but came up with the wrong one. Thanks for pointing that out. Oh well, it won’t be the first or the last one mistake I’ve made.

The gyrs that winter in South Dakota are usually grey but occasionally a white one is seen. I know of a very dark, almost what I'd consider a black being seen.

Brad


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 Post subject: Re: Gyrfalcon on Oregon coast
PostPosted: December 27th, 2017, 12:41 pm 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 12:14 pm
Posts: 504
Brad,
I have been to northeastern Oregon (Wallow County) but never have been to Troy which is very close to the border with Washington. For many years, falconers have reported observing Gyrfalcons in central and eastern Oregon. But of course, by and large, the birding elites have dismissed such sighting as they did for a long time here in W. Oregon. That falconers trapped Gyrs in Oregon seems not to make a difference with such snobs.

I have no understanding why birders would consider the Gyrfalcon as a ‘sensitive’ species when the species regularly occurs in Oregon during the winter months. Perhaps they have fears that some falconer would try trapping ‘their’ Gyr.

But then inexplicably, even our state wildlife agency considers the Gyrfalcon in Oregon as ‘sensitive’ as they have a limit as to the number of Gyrs in Oregon that falconers can trap. As a wildlife biologist, such a position is biologically irrational and indefensible.

As for the different color morphs, when flying helicopter in northern Canada and Alaska for three season (1959 – 1961), I observed just on dark morph Gyr and no white Gyrs but understand they do occur in those regions of Canada and Alaska.

The most unusual sighting occurred in the summer of 1961 when just northwest of Cold Bay, Alaska on the Alaskan Peninsula, we observed a Gyr that was Barn Owl yellow in overall coloration. I came in contact with another bush pilot that indicated he had seen similar Gyrs on the peninsula. When I got back to Oregon, I looked into the literature and could not find any mention about such a color morph in the species.

Richard F. Hoyer


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 Post subject: Re: Gyrfalcon on Oregon coast
PostPosted: December 30th, 2017, 9:55 am 

Joined: October 31st, 2017, 5:12 am
Posts: 7
"I have no understanding why birders would consider the Gyrfalcon as a
‘sensitive’ species when the species regularly occurs in Oregon during the
winter months. Perhaps they have fears that some falconer would try trapping
‘their’ Gyr."

I suspect your right on that account but some folks don't realize first the
falconer has to have a capture permit secondly the bird has to be an
immature and lastly the bird has to be caught. Provided there is a falconer
even interested in capturing a gyr. And we have just as much of a right to do our thing as a birder does his or hers.

"But then inexplicably, even our state wildlife agency considers the
Gyrfalcon in Oregon as ‘sensitive’ as they have a limit as to the number of
Gyrs in Oregon that falconers can trap. As a wildlife biologist, such a
position is biologically irrational and indefensible."

In South Dakota we had reasonable laws pertaining to local and out of state
falconers taking passage gyrs. I seriously doubt more than one gyr is taken
in any one year not to mention lots of years go by without anyone trying to
catch a gyr. I vaguely remember a commissioner asking at the Game Commission meeting where they
voted in a provision for an out of state take if 30 birds would be acceptable. I could have that number wrong but that's the number that stuck in my head.

Brad


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 Post subject: Re: Gyrfalcon on Oregon coast
PostPosted: January 23rd, 2018, 10:23 am 

Joined: June 7th, 2010, 12:14 pm
Posts: 504
Brad,
The 'Chat' is the newsletter for the Audubon Society of Corvallis. In the latest Dec. issue of the Chat, it mentions another Gyrfalcon having been observed a number of times in neighboring Linn County just east of where I live in Corvallis, Oregon.

The observer is Jeff Fleischer who does raptor surveys in Oregon. Jeff also reported observing and quote, "Peregrines and Prairie Flacons were also seen regularly in the open grass fields of western Linn Co. through the period."

On Jan. 6th, on my way back to Corvallis from picking up a male Harris's Hawk in Boise, Idaho, about 25 miles west of Vale, Oregon (far eastern Oregon), I observed a Turkey Vulture up the Malheur River Canyon. That sighting represent one of the most unusual observations of birds I have made in Oregon.

Then day before yesterday, I observed another TV in Corvallis at near the intersection of Kings Blvd. and Circle Ave. about 8 blocks north of where I live. The Chat mentions a TV having been observed Dec. 26th north of Corvallis. Keep in mind that Oregon occurs at the same latitude and S. Dakota.

Richard F. Hoyer (Corvallis, Oregon)


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 Post subject: Re: Gyrfalcon on Oregon coast
PostPosted: January 24th, 2018, 6:09 am 

Joined: October 31st, 2017, 5:12 am
Posts: 7
Richard F. Hoyer wrote:
Brad,
The 'Chat' is the newsletter for the Audubon Society of Corvallis. In the latest Dec. issue of the Chat, it mentions another Gyrfalcon having been observed a number of times in neighboring Linn County just east of where I live in Corvallis, Oregon.

The observer is Jeff Fleischer who does raptor surveys in Oregon. Jeff also reported observing and quote, "Peregrines and Prairie Flacons were also seen regularly in the open grass fields of western Linn Co. through the period."

On Jan. 6th, on my way back to Corvallis from picking up a male Harris's Hawk in Boise, Idaho, about 25 miles west of Vale, Oregon (far eastern Oregon), I observed a Turkey Vulture up the Malheur River Canyon. That sighting represent one of the most unusual observations of birds I have made in Oregon.

Then day before yesterday, I observed another TV in Corvallis at near the intersection of Kings Blvd. and Circle Ave. about 8 blocks north of where I live. The Chat mentions a TV having been observed Dec. 26th north of Corvallis. Keep in mind that Oregon occurs at the same latitude and S. Dakota.

Richard F. Hoyer (Corvallis, Oregon)


Glad they saw another one. In SD some of those birds returned year after year. One passage caught falconry bird was released after one season. 12 years later some idiot shot her off a haystack not far from where she was caught over a decade before. One of my passage gyrs was caught a year after I released her. Hal Webster was visiting and witnessed the capture.

Is it possible those individual TV's you've seen have adopted a sedentary survival strategy and didn't migrate? Of course mortality for such birds is increased and possibly even 100% in a severe winter for that particular species and climate. But the benefits might be worth it depending on the species provided one survived. The years I was a student at OSU I doubt I ever saw a TV in the winter.

Brad


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 Post subject: Re: Gyrfalcon on Oregon coast
PostPosted: January 24th, 2018, 3:48 pm 

Joined: October 31st, 2017, 5:12 am
Posts: 7
I guess someone saw a pretty neat gyrfalcon in SD. I hadn't checked that forum for a while but did today out of curiousity.

https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/sd- ... ages/16592

Here's the picture: https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipM ... R4LThJTXp3

Brad


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