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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Interesting raptor at Ridgewood Reservoir

Unidentified raptor

(Photo credit - Steve Nanz)

This morning, while participating in a survey at the Ridgewood Reservoir in Queens, an unusual raptor was spotted. It was on the high hill to the south of the reservoir and eventually perched in an Ailanthus tree within the adjacent Cemetery of the Evergreens. I tried to get a closer look but the bird flew off. Steve Nanz was able to take some distant photographs, but we still aren't 100% certain of the bird's ID. To me, it looks like a recently fledged Merlin, which begs the question, why would a fledgling Merlin be in Queens?

Any help on this bird's identity would be appreciated. If it is actually a Merlin, how or why would it be in Queens? Somebody lose their hunting bird?


Pamela said...

well,... to me it looks like a young
prairie falcon?

sah67 said...


Definitely not a Merlin, it's a juvie Buteo...either a Broad-wing or a Red-shoulder. I'm leaning towards Broad-wing based on the breast markings, but I'd be more confident if I had some way of judging its size.

Scott Haber

Gil Raphael Cavalieros-Bekefi said...

Looks like a red-shouldered hawk; we just came back from Florida where a pair is nesting 3 houses down from my folks'. We had a good chance to observe (& photograph) adults & immatures close up.

Roberto (father of Gil Raphael)

Yojimbot said...

see to me it does look like a juvy merlin. size is hard to tell, but look at the way the beak hooks...more falcon than hawk like. also, the moustache is indicative of merlin.

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