Gyrfalcon

Falco rusticolus 

Gyrfalcons may actually prove to be nearly annual in the Pribilofs given more thorough coverage in fall. In spring the species is accidental and there are, as yet, no records from the summer months. The two spring records for Gyrfalcon come form the last two weeks in May. Fall records are scanty, but this is likely due to limited coverage during that period. At least two birds were found during the both the 2003 and 2004 fall surveys. The date span for these sightings is September 18 _ October 2. This very large and powerful raptor is unlikely to be confused with anything other than a Peregrine Falcon. In flight look for broad based wings, lack of a dark helmet, and large size to help identify this species. If seen perched, look for the very long tail, which extends well past the folded wingtips. All color morphs of Gyrfalcon have occurred on Saint Paul, with the brown and gray morphs outnumbering the stunning white morph. Look for this, and other raptors coursing over the island’s interior or along the cliff faces. Several sightings of this and other raptor species also come from rocky areas such as the main bowl of Kamanista and the east flank of Polovina and Lake Hills, which seem to be attractive roosting sights.