[birding] Benton County Prairie Falcon and catholic Starling

W. Douglas Robinson w.douglas.robinson at gmail.com
Sun Dec 29 14:43:04 PST 2013

I spent a couple hours this morning searching south of Corvallis for Prairie Falcon. A few years ago there was a tall dead tree with an Osprey nest along Lakeside Drive. A Prairie Falcon perched there during winter. Some storm tossed the tree and I have had trouble finding Prairie Falcons in the county since then. Randy Moore saw one at Corvallis Airport about 3 weeks ago. So I figured some diligent searching might reveal its new hang-out perch.

Scanning Llewellyn Road, the airport, and Lakeside turned up nothing. So I went to Finley and found 8 Snow Geese and 1 Ross's Goose among the many Cacklers.  I headed home to Corvallis.

Just as I was reaching Finley Road along Highway 99W I saw a flock of tightly swirling European Starlings about a quarter mile ahead. Sure enough, as I got close enough to the flock, I saw a falcon swooping through the flock. It was indeed a Prairie Falcon. The falcon successfully peeled a single starling out of the mob and flew along behind it for about 15 seconds, with the starling hauling butt about as hard as it could go. Then, suddenly the falcon slowed and drifted, seeming to say "meh", and headed east for about a half mile to a perch. Meanwhile, the starling was making the sign of the cross and rushing back to its flock. First, it lost the lottery, then it won it.

Anyway, there's a Prairie Falcon south of town between Guerber Lane and Finley Road again.


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