[Mnbird] Thanks to All

Brian and Cindy Drill bcdrill at charter.net
Thu Jun 4 18:20:05 CDT 2020

Good evening, I had a nice response to my question this morning 
regarding my possible sighting of a Northern Harrier.  Sometimes just 
having another person point out a feature of one bird over another is 
enough to clarify what you saw better.

Many responded that I might have seen a Cooper's Hawk.  I have had many 
looks at Cooper's in the past, and in fact had posted suggesting I might 
have a nesting pair in our neighborhood.  That actually turned out to be 
them checking out an old Crows nest for possible use, but the local 
Crows convinced them our neighborhood was unsuitable, I guess.  They 
were here only about 4 days before moving on.  So the idea that the 
white tail patch was possibly the tail coverts of a Coopers sent me back 
to studying photos of each bird, and then the answer is no--they were 
not the same.  (Speaking of which, photos of a bird flying away from you 
are tough to come by.)

The bird I saw had a distinct white patch above the tail--lower back, if 
you will.  It was smooth in appearance, not fluffed out feathers.  The 
gray color was similar to pigeon grey, or dove grey, not showing barring 
on the back or wings from the angle I saw.  I saw one photo of an adult 
male Northern Harrier which referred to it as 'the grey ghost', and the 
coloring was much like what I saw.  Knowing that the bird keeps a 
habitat of wetlands, I can only say that I live within a half mile in 
any direction of a small park lake, the Minnesota River, and a gravel 
pit converted to a swimming pond with a slew off one side.  If a bird 
were to be traveling and using familiar terrain to move between, it 
wouldn't be out of the question that it could pass my neighborhood.  It 
doesn't explain why we found a pheasant tail feather in our front yard 
earlier this spring, but I digress...

Thanks again for everyone's help; Cindy in North Mankato

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