Verification of Unusual Sight Record
For Utah

Rec. # 2003-01

Common name:


Scientific name: Falco rusticolus
Date: April 7th, 2001
Time: around 7:30 am
Length of time observed: 20 minutes.
Number: 1
Age: juvenile gray morph
Location: Rosebud field station road about 18 miles southwest of Rosette, UT
County: Box Elder county
Latilong: latitude - 41.6071 N longitude - 113.5897 W.
Elevation: [the above information is taken from this note] "A juvenile gray morph Gyrfalcon was seen at around 7:30 am for about 20 minutes in flight and perched on April 7th, 2001 at the Rosebud field station road about 18 miles southwest of Rosette, UT (Box Elder county) latitude - 41.6071 N longitude - 113.5897 W."
Distance to bird:  
Optical equipment: 60x Nikon scope
Light Conditions:  
Detailed description of bird: While perched The bird appeared large (about Red-tailed Hawk size) with broad shoulders and chest that tapered down to the belly -- the silhouette of a large falcon. Its breast and belly were streaked more heavily than a heavily marked juvenile Prairie Falcon (the darkest of the Prairies) and less heavily marked than most juvenile Peregrine Falcons. The upper breast and throat were streaked, whereas most juvenile Peregrines have a whitish chest and throat. As the bird flushed from a utility pole, its wing beats were shallow and labored relative to a Prairie or Peregrine Falcon. Its
'hands' or part of the wing that consisits of the primaries, and base of the wing were slightly broader than those of a Prairie or Peregrine. The bird was heavy-bodied (back and chest), like a football with wings. Its back was brown overall lacking mottling. The bird then perched on a low sign down the road (see photo) and we watched it full frame in a 60x Nikon scope for about 5 minutes.
Song or call & method of delivery:  
Behavior: [see description section]
Similar species and
how were they eliminated:
[see description section]
Previous experience with this & similar species: My experience with all North American Falcons is extensive...I have conducted full-time hawk counts every spring and fall since the late 1980's and have written articles and consulted on many raptor projects including Hawks in Flight (2nd edition due out soon), The Wheeler Guide to Hawks (due out soon), The Sibley Guide to Birds, the Peterson Guide to Hawks (2nd Edition) etc. This may sound silly and I am shy to say this...In not my own words but stated by Briam Wheeler, Bill Clark, Pete Dunne, David Sibley, and Clay Sutton, I am considered one of the foremost experts in raptor
identification, and falcons in particular. This may or may not be true, however, I do study raptors every day of my life in some form...and this is the only way I know how to state my experience for the committee. I have seen countless falcons, but 17 Gyrfalcons in particular.
References consulted:  
Description from:  
Observer: Jerry Liguori
Observer's address:  
Observer's e-mail address:
Other observers who independently identified
this bird:
Date prepared: 6 Jan 2003
Additional material: photo
Additional comments: Sorry the photo attached is not that great, but I was lucky to get any.