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Old Jun 13, 2012, 10:30 PM   #1
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Default bird of prey for ID please

Dear Esteemed fellows and women of the forum, your opinion requested:

Hawk or peregrine falcon chicks/fledglings? I am leaning toward falcon - the parent appeared, though I couldn't get a good look, as though it was more dark grey than brown. This is a crop of a shot from a nikkor 55-300 at 300mm, looking high into a tree in NE Ohio.

IF not a falcon, maybe Cooper Hawk chicks?

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Old Jun 14, 2012, 10:14 AM   #2
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Not sure what they are, but what a treat to be able to see them.
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Old Jun 14, 2012, 12:02 PM   #3
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In the middle chick you can see a perfectly round nostril, which is characteristic of falcons, so you can tell at least that much at this age. Keep watching - they are not too far from fledging.
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Old Jun 14, 2012, 3:48 PM   #4
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It took about 45 minutes of trying to find an opening in the trees and then shooting close to straight up to get that shot after waiting and waiting for all three chicks to be visible - and my lower back is in a knot. Every time an adult would show up, they would quickly stick their head inside the nest to feed the young and all I would get of the adults was their backside.

Photo: adult at left, still not sure if that's a falcon or cooper hawk.

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Old Jun 14, 2012, 4:10 PM   #5
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Looks like a peregrine falcon to me. White underbelly with brown stripes and coloring of upper body all say "peregrine falcon" to me. Heat pad will help with the lower back too.
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Old Jun 14, 2012, 9:27 PM   #6
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After seeing one of the adults, I may have to change my opinion - the nostril shape of that one chick may only look round because of the angle. The brown barring looks much like Cooper's, and Peregrines don't build nests in trees, usually nesting on open platforms like ledges - in fact they don't build nests at all, although some have been known to use abandoned Eagle or Osprey nests. Whatever it is, it is not a Peregrine.
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Old Jun 15, 2012, 4:04 PM   #7
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OK - this is the last one from the batch I shot the other day that shows an adult. I had to adjust levels in Photoshop to brighten up the midtones attempting to bring out a little more detail.

I'm going to go out again sometime in the next few days to try to get a clearer shot of an adult.


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Old Jun 15, 2012, 8:38 PM   #8
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Well, here we go again. It really isn't the best idea to post photos like these at intervals for others to identify unless it is unlikely that you won't be coming up with a better one, however it is challenging and we might be getting closer. I played with your last image in PSE and you can see that there clearly is a round nostril and also (if you look closely) that there is a characteristic tubercle in the center, so it definitely is a falcon, but it is not a Peregrine for the reasons mentioned earlier. Size is difficult to judge (especially from a photograph), but there are brown streaks on the breast and what looks like a white superciliary ("eyebrow") stripe, so (at least until the next photograph appears!) you might be thinking in terms of this one being a Merlin, which is smaller that a Peregrine, but larger than a Kestrel.


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Old Jun 15, 2012, 9:07 PM   #9
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Your replies/help/input are appreciated.

I am going to make another attempt at photos possibly Sunday afternoon. This nest is located in NE Ohio in Stark Co.

There are peregrine falcons nearby in Canton, OH. - a webcam is set up here:
http://northcanton.us/cantonfalcon/
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Old Jun 16, 2012, 4:45 PM   #10
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I'm going to change my first guess from falcon to cooopers hawk. Keep shooting, be fun to watch the chicks mature and fledge, plus get a better shot of the adults.
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