At least a dozen hawk-eyed birders are in the Meadowlands today as part of an impromptu "Team Gyr," trying to find that rare Gyrfalcon that has been seen (but not confirmed) in the Meadowlands.
One birder who scoped out Laurel Hill early today told us he did not see the Gyrfalcon but did see an adult Bald Eagle fly over.
One reason for the hoopla was this bird report from Pennsylvania on Wednesday:
"About 3:30 this afternoon Gordon Yoder caught a Gyrfalcon at the Little Gap Raptor Banding Station. Unfortunately he was alone and did not have a camera." Since a Gyrfalcon has tremendous range, it has raised hopes of a Meadowlands sighting as well.
Another reason for the hoopla: Check this link to Google Books, and raptor experts Clay and Pat Sutton's Gyrfalcon description in How to Spot Hawks & Eagles: They call the Gyrfalcon "The ultimate quest for raptor spotters, the rarest and hardest of all North American hawks to find."
The Record's Jim O'Neill did a story on the Meadowlands Commission's bird-banding study today.
If you've been to the Meadowlands Festival of Birding or a weekday Harrier Meadow walk, you may have seen a bird-banding demonstration by the NJMC's Mike Newhouse and Erica Mueller.
This story gives you a great overture of the entire study. Read it here.
Mary Ellen Schoonmaker, a columnist for The Record, had a wonderful column about the Meadowlands on Thanksgiving.
Read it here.
A falconer has reported to the Meadowlands Commission that he has seen a Gyrfalcon in the district twice in the past week. Another birder reported earlier in the month that he had seen a Gyrfalocon-like raptor in the district as well.
Although unconfirmed, the sightings could be significant. It would be quite a bird for the district, and the Meadowlands Commission would love to document the bird's presence with a quality photo of same with a clear Meadowlands backdrop. We will offer a suitable reward to use the photo.
So keep a camera handy and call us if you get a solid shot of our phantom bird. In the meantime, birders are organizing "search parties" for the Gyrfalcon this weekend. We will keep you informed of any progress.
More on Gyrfalcons here.
How should you pronounce "Gyrfalcon"? Click here (with your computer's sound card on). (Answer: Jeer-falcon).
Click "Continue reading …" for more on the Meadowlands Gyrfalcon reports.