[Tweeters] Raptor ID

Tim Brennan tsbrennan at hotmail.com
Fri Oct 28 16:30:13 PDT 2011

Hey Tweets,

Maybe it was the rain keeping people inside at their computers, but I got a fair number of responses. Moooost of the responses so far are leaning towards immature Peregrine Falcon (with one person even leaning towards Peale's), with two saying Prairie, and one Merlin. Good to have learned a couple of things in the process - immature falcons are often quite streaked, Peregrines used to be less common in the Columbia Basin than they are now, and most importantly - nobody wants to ID a poor photo!

So... the likely-Peregrine photo was okay, but taken in pinkish morning light. The other is-it-a-Golden-Eagle picture is simply a big dark bird with white wing patches on the upperwing. Not much to go on! I should add that I wasn't able to detect white on the upperwing or underwing with binoculars before taking the picture. Although I couldn't say it was completely dark below (because I was able to miss the white on the upperwing... why not something the same size below), I think it was dark enough to rule out a dark phase Rough-legged Hawk. This is the only alternate suggestion thrown my way, and I found that they do have similar upperwing patches, but they also had a lot of white below in all of the images I looked through. It was nice to get the suggestion, at any rate, and maybe I should rephrase "What raptor is this?" to "What raptors have dark upperwings with white patches?" to see if there are other possibilities to consider besides Golden Eagle and Rough-legged Hawk.

Thanks all who emailed or posted!

-Tim Brennan
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