Today, 2 November, as I traveled west on Kandiyohi CR 19, there was a large
raptor perched on a pole. Initially I thought it was just one of the
ubiquitous Red-tailed Hawks in the area, but as I drove by, the GISS for
Red-tail was off, way off. I stopped to take a look. I was struck by the
heavy streaking on the breast. Coupled with the bird's large size, I
thought I might be dealing with a juvenile Northern Goshawk, so I proceeded
to take lots of photos. I looked at my photos and compared them to photos
of juvenile Goshawks, and they weren't a match. Then it dawned on me that
the face looked kind of like a Peregrine Falcon. I just assumed it was a
juvenile Peregrine (the most probable) and posted it as such in the Facbook
Group, MN Heartland Birding+. Bob Dunlap questioned me on the bird's size
because he was not getting a Peregrine impression and said the gray cheek
and weak mustache was leading him toward the Gyrfalcon.
I posted all of my uncropped photos on a separate page on my blog, A Boy
Who Cried Heron. You can access that page and the photos by clicking this
Gyr had not even entered my mind as a remote possibility. If it had, I
would have worked for more photos and better photos. Regarding the
behavior of the bird, it never flushed during the three or four times I
drove by it and stopped to take pictures. I came back out about 45 minutes
later, and the bird was not there. This was about 3 miles east of US 71,
just SE of Willmar.
I'd love for some experts to weigh in on this.
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