It is a custom of many birders to spend their New Year’s day out in the field trying to find as many bird species as possible to get their year list started off right. A group consisting of Tyler Pockette, Ted Murin and Kaylee Pollander were doing just that yesterday when on Gage Rd. in Addison they added not just a bird to their year list, but to the Vermont State bird list as well. A Prairie Falcon that was hanging out in the vicinity of a couple of Peregrine Falcons. They noted the bird’s dark axillaries (armpits) in flight contrasting with its light undersides and belly, its fairly light brown back, and slightly smaller in size in comparison to the Peregrines. They made these observations, remarkably, while watching the three falcons work together to harass a passing Bald Eagle. Pending approval from the Vermont Birds Records Committee, this would be the first confirmed sighting of a Prairie Falcon in Vermont, but given the outstanding photos Tyler took of the bird, that is a foregone conclusion.

– Ron Payne