[Tweeters] Tundra peregrines and "eye stripes"

Bud Anderson falconresearch at gmail.com
Sun Feb 3 12:44:05 PST 2019


Tundra peregrines do sometimes winter in this area, although the vast
majority migrate much further south. The current record is just south of
Puerto Montt in Chile.

In contrast, an Alaskan banded adult is known to have wintered as far north
as Vancouver BC. Some birds even remain in Greenland all winter.

However, calling subspecies for any individual peregrine is notoriously
fraught with difficulty.

All three NA peregrine races can show eyestripes. Just because a falcon
exhibits this feature doesn't mean it is a tundra peregrine.

We have seen light eyestripes in several of our local Seattle and San Juan
nestlings over the years. This confuses many people.

Clayton White, a leading peregrine expert, also points out that about 25%
of Queen Charlotte Island, BC, (Haida Gwai) Peale's Falcons also have light
eyestripes.

I would advise that the best method for positively determining the natal
origin and presumably the subspecies of a peregrine is to read a band on a
birds leg. That would be pretty reliable.

But we all enjoy playing the peregrine subspecies game. I would suggest not
to take it too seriously.

And as far as general ID, don't foget that classic piece of advice from
Prof. Steve Herman, who states, "If the bird looks different than the
picture in the field guide, trust the bird."

Good luck.
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