Friends, meet Verde, an unbanded, juvenile Peregrine Falcon featured in the previous post entitled The Raptor-ture. As mentioned there, the lack of a band suggested this was a migratory Falcon checking in for a few days at the Holgate Hotel. After posting the photo, I had the pleasure of being taken to Falcon Skool by the “Great Mother Of All Cool Things In NJ You Can’t Shoot With A Gun”, Kathy Clark. Kathy is NJ Fish & Wildlife’s world famous Zoologist who has been instrumental in the restoration of Peregrine Falcons, and many other endangered coastal species, to the wild. She’s the bee’s knees.
The unbanded juvie peregrine probably IS from Canada or Greenland. Note the thin malar stripe and slightly lighter color on top of the head, and compare to the local, Flower Pot juvie. The eastern peregrines (which I’d describe as anatum subspecies) have a darker head and wide malar stripe; in adults they often have a dark helmet. The tundrius subspecies is lighter and has that thin stripe, like your photo. Great chance for comparisons!
“Malar Stripe.” A term so fancy, I had to look it up. The photo above was taken in bright sun at a serious distance, but you can get enough detail to see what she means. Compare this to Josephine Durt, one of our local, or Anatum Peregrines:
OK, Josephine Durt. We know the story. You’ll always be our special little bird-mangling Princess, but we also honor our guests here on the Island. We hope that Verde, our adorable little Tundrius Shoobie, enjoys her stay in the tiny bit of wilds left on LBI, and finds some tasty local bird to nom nom. But remember Verde, our local Falcon Customs dictate that you should only eat “regular” birds and not our adorable Shorebirds. Ok?
Incidentally, when I shot the above photo of Verde, she was nom noming on some bird. A few noisy terns were flying above her, which caught her attention and got her very excited, and distracted. She accidentally dropped the little bird head she was eating while watching the terns. When she looked back down at her feet to start eating again, she was so confused. Where did my little bird-head-nom-nom go? She was looking all over for it, like a dog that lost a ball, but it had rolled into the grass. Adorbz!