World’s Largest Falcon


This week’s photo, taken January 27, 2014 along a rural road south of the town of Snohomish, WA, features a GYRFALCON (pronounced JER-falcon). The world’s largest falcon breeds in the far northern regions of the Northern Hemisphere. During the winter, some migrate south, usually no farther than the northern states of the “Lower 48.”

To check off a new life bird, some people walk for miles up a mountain, trudge through mosquito-infested swamps or fight their way through brush so thick that their arms start bleeding. On Monday, I find my latest Lifer without much effort. I arrive at the road junction where the bird has been spotted, get out of my car and walk 25 feet to a tripod that is supporting a spotting scope that is aimed at the GYRFALCON. The friendly stranger (the guy with the scope, not the bird), immediately invites me to look at the falcon through his scope. He is decked out in a suit and tie (the guy, not the bird). I assume that he likes to dress up when he bird-watches, but he explains that he’s on his way to work.

When I’m closing in on my next life bird, I hope the well-dressed birder will be present (with his scope, of course). I prefer that the Gyrfalcon will not be there, since it might capture and eat my target bird before I arrive.


About Joe Sweeney

I photograph birds to share the beauty and wonder I find in nature.
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5 Responses to World’s Largest Falcon

  1. Marlene Prendergast says:

    Very exciting!

  2. Pamela Conley says:

    WOW!! I don’t have this one on my life vest yet! Good for you.


    Sent from my iPad

  3. jere mcinerney says:

    so Joe… do you find out that the guy in the suit has spotted the bird?
    i have a hummingbird and a scrub jay eating off my deck and that’s my bird excitement….

  4. says:

    Hi Joe, Thanks for all the info on the Gyrfalcon! We here in NH have also had sightings of this bird this winter. Unfortunately was unable to travel to see it! You are lucky to find the man with the spotting scope! WE HAVE A UNUSUAL NUMBER OF SNOWY OWL this winter- most since the 1950,s Susan and I have been vacationing so will go to the coast and seek them out next week. Enjoy your posts! Susan

  5. Susan Kritzik says:

    Awesome. I’m totally jealous! What a great bird.

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