[mou] Unusual raptor in Grand Rapids - ID help needed

shawn conrad dingermcduff at hotmail.com
Sat Apr 12 18:56:40 CDT 2008

Today I had an unusual raptor sighting in Grand Rapids.  I was in my vehicle at the L&M parking lot when a raptor that I think was chasing a pigeon flew over about 40' up.  It surprised me so I wasn't able to get binoculars on it but I did jump out of the truck.  It appeared stocky and was completely white beneath...no markings that I could see.  It had a longish tail and short, broad wings...though they could have appeared that way because they were bent sharply at the wrist during its pursuit.  It was definitely not a buteo and appeared more falcon-like than accipiter, but I couldn't rule an accipiter out.  It disappeared behind a building for a moment and when I saw it reappear, it was getting grief from a crow.  It appeared as large, or slightly larger, than the crow as it flew off in the direction of the DNR Headquarters.  
In early February, another birder reported to me that he had gotten a brief glimpse at a very pale falcon in Grand Rapids chasing pigeons.  Is a Gyr possible?  A really, really light Peregrine?  Could this be an escaped falconry bird?  All of the above?
Also, in Coleraine this afternoon, I counted (the best one can count these flocks) 55 Bohemian Waxwings.  They were foraging crabapples with a large flock of robins and starlings.  The flock of over 200 redpolls that I was handfeeding (as many as 3 sitting on my hand at once!) in the inclement weather yesterday dwindled to around 50 birds hanging out at my feeders today.  They ripped a hole in the thistle sock, so they're going to have to take turns at the tube feeder now or put up with black oil sunflower seeds.  C'est la vie.      Shawn Conradhttp://users.2z.net/itasca_chippewa_birding/ 
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