[Tweeters] Prairie Falcons in Western Washington

Carol Riddell cariddellwa at gmail.com
Wed Sep 16 12:25:00 PDT 2015

Every county from Whatcom to Thurston has had Prairie Falcon sightings in the Puget lowlands. Those in eBird are as recent as this month and go back as far as the early 1990s. Whatcom and Skagit County show the most sightings. Snohomish County has had a cluster of sightings in the Stanwood area for the last several years. Those may represent one bird or several. There was also an October 2013 sighting on Mt. Dickerman, which is in Snohomish County west of the Pacific Crest. Pierce County has one sighting in the lowlands and many in and around Mt. Rainier N.P., also west of the Pacific Crest. Thurston County has several sightings at Nisqually NWR from the 1990s and at Grand Mound in 2006. Going out towards the coast, Grays Harbor County shows Prairie Falcons at the Brady Loop, Ocean Shores, and Westport. Pacific County had one bird spotted at Tokeland in 2011. Most are fall and winter sightings with the exception of Mt. Rainier. Most of those sightings are from early August through mid-October, a period that corresponds with the most visitors in the park. eBird reports represent only a portion of all observations since many birders do not keep their checklists there.

The Edmonds Prairie Falcon is a first in the last 25 years of record keeping. When records are kept for a patch, a bird can seem extremely rare. But Prairie Falcon presence in Western Washington has been consistent over the last 25 years. County checklists show it as a code 3 in Whatcom and Skagit Counties. It is a code 4 in Snohomish, a code 5 in King, a code 3 in Pierce (probably due to all of the Mt. Rainier sightings), and a code 5 in Thurston. It would only be speculation to attribute the presence of the Edmonds Prairie Falcon to anything in particular. What can be said is that is is a very good sighting and addition to the Edmonds checklist.

Carol Riddell

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