Weekly Raptor for 2006/08/19

I’ve been urged to have some sort of weekly feature here. OK, I can take a hint. I don’t know that I’m regular enough to have a “Friday X” type thing, so I’ll just call it the “Weekly Raptor”. Maybe it will happen on Fridays, but it might be Saturday, Sunday, or even Monday, depending on what’s going on.

I have pictures of raptors from various falconry meets and also our own outings with our hawks. So expect a mix of various perched birds in the weathering yard plus Rusty, Shelby, and Beater out on the hunt.

First up is what looks to me to be a peregrine falcon… could be a hybrid prairie/peregrine, though, or maybe I’m way off. Feedback welcomed. This was taken at the California Hawking Club meet in 2001.

chc meet 20011228 001 ws

Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Data scientist in real estate and econometrics. Blogger. Speaker. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.

5 thoughts on “Weekly Raptor for 2006/08/19

  • 2006/08/19 at 5:31 am

    Looks far too pale to be a ‘grine, don’t suppose you saw the underwing? Are you sure it’s not an adult prairie?

    It’s too pale to be a kid (plus kids have pale feet and legs rather than the deep yellow feet this bird sports). And adults have breasts that are lightly spotted, typically, rather than streaked like young ones.

    If it’s a prairie, it’s a pale one (though as a photographer I can’t help but note your whites are blown out, making it look paler than it really is).

    Maybe a hybrid with some Eurasian falcon I’m not familiar with?

    Why didn’t you just ask it what it is? :)

  • 2006/08/19 at 9:52 am

    Because people leave their birds in the weathering area and go off elsewhere.

    No, I am not certain of the species, which is why I asked for feedback.

    The Canon Pro 90IS I was using for the weathering yard shots does appear to have been a bit hot that day.

  • 2006/08/19 at 10:20 am

    Uh, that was a joke, I didn’t actually imagine the falcon would answer if you asked it what it is :)

    It looks like an adult prairie to me, though it would be nice to see the axillaries (which should be dark), since I don’t know my non-North American falcons well.

    Young (hatching year) prairies are sandy brown on top, but they get much grayer as adults.

    Here’s a photo of a known prairie falcon to compare:


  • 2006/08/19 at 10:27 am

    I know the hybrids are very popular with the longwingers, so it could easily be a hybrid. It does look quite similar to the prairie picture you provided.

  • 2006/08/19 at 12:07 pm

    Yeah, it could be a prairie x (some other pale falcon) cross.

    I looked at photos of prairie x peregrine and prairie x gyrfalcon for the heck of it, and the examples I googled looked more like “the other” than “prairie”.

    I know prairies were popular with falconers I’ve known from Evergreen State College in the past, when Steve Herrman (now retired) introduced many of his biology students to the sport.

    I’ll just put my foot down and say “Prairie!” because, for a variety of reasons, it’s my favorite North American falcon.

    Shouldn’t that be evidence enough? :)

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