Tuesday, June 17, 2014

WY - do large falcons hover?

Traveling south at 55 mph, our party spotted a falcon hovering in classic 'kestrel-like' manner on a ridge above Rt 191, Flaming Gorge NRA, south of Rock Springs, Wyoming. It was certainly easy to gloss over it as another American Kestrel, a species seen almost daily on our trip. However, naked-eye views suggested something wasn't right from about this bird, though we could clearly see that it wasn't a buteo either. A sharp U-turn brought us back to the bird which was still hovering in the same area. Needless to say we were surprised and delighted to find that it was a Prairie Falcon, a much wanted species for our tour. Though I've seen Peregrines 'hanging' on the wind before, I don't recall seeing any large falcon hover in such an obvious 'kestrel-like' manner as this Prairie Falcon - this despite logging a good number of field hours in the American West each year. Any thoughts/comments would be welcome.

 Prairie Falcon - hovering, Flaming Gorge NRA, south of Rock Springs, WY. June 10th, 2014.

 Prairie Falcon - in direct flight, Flaming Gorge NRA, south of Rock Springs, WY. June 10th, 2014.

Ridge above Flaming Gorge NRA, Wyoming - the Prairie Falcon was hovering over this ridge.


Jon Ranney said...

I just spotted a large falcon hovering (kestrel style, with wings flapping) ery briefly near my home outside Aspen. I always thought only Kestrels did this. I've seen a pair of falcons around our neighborhood each summer for the past few years, but haven't positively identified whether they are prairie falcons or peregrines.

Jon Ranney said...

I just saw a large falcon hover briefly, kestrel style, near my home outside Aspen, CO. Always thought only kestrels do this. I haven't yet positively identified the falcons we have here each summer as peregrines or prairie falcons.