Raptorous Ride


My daily bike ride can produce a wide range of birds, including raptors. While I don’t have any photos of the birds I see, I thought I would share a particularly great finish to my ride.

I didn‘t see my first raptor until I was on my way home today, about 8 miles into the ride. The first was a Red Tail (of the “normal” variety) perched along the Boise River. I think he was checking out the menu. The second raptor was also a Red Tail, further along and not in close proximity to the river. Third, fourth, and fifth raptors were all American Kestrels, at Willow Lane, Veterans Park, and Esther Simplot.

But it got really interesting when got close to my house and realized there was an accipiter in the tree across the alley. After viewing it from various angles, I decided it was a good-sized Sharp-shinned Hawk, watching my feeders, so also looking at what was on the menu.

Later, after “she” left (I figure “she” because of size), I went back out into the yard and noticed a different raptor in a different tree across the alley. This one was even tougher because I don’t get to see immature Peregrine Falcons very often. I t was obviously a falcon (thank you Heidi for teaching me what to look for) but too big to be a Merlin or a Kestrel (relatively common on my rides) and too light to be a Prairie. He was heavily streaked down the front, and he hung out for a long time. This gave me time to consult iBird Pro, Crossley’s guide, and my old Sibley’s. Quite a treat for the North End of Boise. ;-)

Final tally was 39 species in 12 miles, but the Peregrine was the crowning treat.

Tom McCabe, Boise