• Gyrfalcon

    Common NameGyrfalcon
    Scientific NameFalco rusticolus
    Type of ReportRare Species
    Date of Observation01/01/2017
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    Number Observed1
    Reporting Observer's NameFrank Rounds
    Mailing Address69 Bixby Hill Road
    Essex Junction, Vermont 05452
    United States
    Map It
    EmailEmail hidden; Javascript is required.
    Date Completed01/05/2017
    Names & Emails of Other Contributing Observers

    Sandy Rounds, Hannah Rounds, Charlie Gerry

    Latitude of Observation0
    Longitude of Observation0
    Place NameGreenbush Road
    Time of Day02:00 PM
    Length of Time Observed30 min
    Maximum Estimated Distance from Bird (in feet)450
    Minimum Estimated Distance from Bird (in feet)150
    Optical Equipment Used for Observation

    Nikon ProStaff 5 20-60 Scope on Manfrotto tripod, Audubon Equinox 8x42 binoculars, iPhone6

    Observer’s Previous Acquaintance With This or Similar Species


    I certify that that attachments included with this report were captured during this observation event​​.
    Description of Habitat

    Farm fields on either side of the road, tree line to the west following RR tracks 150yds from road. Light snow cover on fields. Crows have been gathering here, probably 300-500 at the time, moving around the field and trees on either side of the fields. Snow Buntings in the field as well as wild turkeys.

    Behaviors Observed

    First observed flying from western tree line east across the road, being harassed by a peregrine falcon. It flew into trees surrounding a farm house next to the field. The peregrine continued to harass the bird until it flew from the trees back across the road, west to the tree line and landed in a bare tree. During the flight it turned a few times in reaction to the peregrine, allowing views of underwings.

    Description of Vocalizations

    did not hear any

    Verbal Narrative & Description of Observation

    First and best look at the bird was in flight with peregrine falcon in pursuit. This bird was much bigger than peregrine but similar build with tapered wings, brown upper body and wings with no obvious markings. When I saw the underwing pattern, a two tone grayish to grey/white in the outer wing I was fairly convinced this was a brown gyrfalcon. It was about the size of a RTHA but no other large raptor has such tapered wings and straight tail.When it landed in the tree I was able to get the scope on it as it faced away from me. The overall color was brown, very slightly mottled back with the wings showing slightly darker brown where the crossed the back. The wing tips did not come close to the tail tip, maybe mid-upper tail.

    Relative Size & Shape

    perched bird was similar in size to red tailed hawk, but slimmer build


    same color as body, very slight darkness in cheeks

    Feet & Bill

    couldn't see

    Upper Back


    Lower Back & Rump



    brown above, light grey to lighter grey below

    Breast, Belly, Flanks, Under Tail Coverts

    light grey


    relatively long and straight

    IMPORTANT: What similar species were eliminated when making the identification and how was this bird different?

    Was in flight with peregrine falcon, which I confirmed while it was alone above the trees. I have seen goshawk, this bird didn’t have shape or color of goshawk, no head marking or streaking of underwing or belly in flight.

    This report was written from notes taken:Written from Memory

    More Posts from VCE