[Mnbird] Thanks to All

DONALD GRUSSING Owner cdrussin at centurylink.net
Fri Jun 5 11:08:14 CDT 2020

Were there mature trees where the bird was located? Harriers prefer the wide open spaces. If it is forested with an understory it would be unusual. As for a single pheasant feather? Could have been dropped by any predator; owl, hawk, feral cat, coyote. And, once while deer hunting, I watched two handsome rooster pheasants walk side-by-side through the middle of 45 acres of mature northern Wisconsin forest. Like two pals on a stroll. 

From: "mnbird" <mnbird at lists.mnbird.net> 
To: "mnbird" <mnbird at lists.mnbird.net> 
Sent: Thursday, June 4, 2020 6:20:05 PM 
Subject: [Mnbird] Thanks to All 

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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