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September 2009


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Dennis and Barbara Martin <[log in to unmask]>
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Dennis and Barbara Martin <[log in to unmask]>
Sat, 19 Sep 2009 22:13:00 -0600
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Had a Prairie Falcon late this AM in Pipestone Cty today.  The location was Woodstock WMA in the NE part of the county.  The bird was first seen by one of us as it stooped down into a field behind some trees where we lost sight of it.  Some field marks were noted then but the sighting was not conclusive at that time.  About a half hour later the bird reappeared and harassed a red-tail hunting in the same area.  Enough harassment that the falcon drove the red-tail out of the area.  Then the falcon seemed to more lazily fly around the area and disappeared from our sight behind a hill.

The area is a mix of wind generators, maybe 50% grasslands (with cattle) and hayfields, and some bean and corn cropland.  Close in to the WMA the mix is probably 75% non-croplands while the extended couple of miles each way area gets it down to the 50% level.  Thus even though there is some cropland the area is excellent for a falcon to spend some time in.  Because of the way this bird chased the red-tail out we wonder if the bird either has been here for awhile or plans on spending a little time in the area.  By the way both the red-tail and the falcon seemed to navigate around the wind turbines like they seemed to know their way around the area.  All the raptors seen today seemed to have resident type actions except for one Broad-winged Hawk noted migrating.

The bird appears to be an adult although there were a couple of small items like a very pale head that makes us wonder if the bird is a second summer bird.  We have not had time to look up molt sequence, etc to see if a second summer bird will look any different from an adult.

By the way it is really a treat to watch a falcon harass a red-tail from originally as close as 70 yards before they slowly moved off with a lot of interactions.

Dennis and Barbara Martin
Shorewood, MN
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