Dec 02 2013

The Battle Is On

Published by at 7:00 am under Birds of Prey,Peregrines

Peregrine falcon at Presque Isle State Park, 29 Nov 2013 (photo by Shawn Collins)

Ever since the first snowy owl showed up at Presque Isle State Park on November 23 Erie's resident pair of peregrine falcons has been on the warpath.  Peregrines hate owls and snowies are no exception.  How dare an owl invade their territory!

On November 26 a second snowy arrived and perched near the first at Gull Point.  On November 30, a third and darker owl came to Beach 6.  The snowies like the banquet at the lake.  They're eating visiting waterfowl.

Snowy owl on the breakwater at Presque Isle State Park,29 Nov 2013 (photo by Shawn Collins)

Their arrival has kept the peregrines quite busy. Many observers have seen the peregrines attacking the owls.

One owl is annoying, two are worth shouting about.  On Friday while Shawn Collins was on his way to Gull Point he heard a peregrine whining and warning at Beach 10.  The peregrine was so upset and distracted that it remained perched and whining on a telephone pole while Shawn snapped several pictures.

Angry and swift, the peregrines teamed up to convince the owls to leave.  Would it work?

The owls are bigger and know about large, powerful falcons.  They come from the land of the gyrfalcon.

But the peregrines are persistent.

Who will win?

Snowyowl atPresque Isle State Park, 29 Nov 2013 (photo by Shawn Collins)


(photos by Shawn Collins)

10 responses so far

10 Responses to “The Battle Is On”

  1. Kate St. Johnon 02 Dec 2013 at 7:38 am

    At Presque Isle yesterday (Dec 1) we saw only one owl, a dark one, and no peregrines. Maybe the peregrines were successful…

  2. Donnaon 02 Dec 2013 at 10:59 am

    It’s hard to cheer for the peregrine when the Snowies are so beautiful!

  3. Kate St. Johnon 02 Dec 2013 at 2:44 pm

    The snowy owl saga continues. Today (Dec 2) Jerry McWilliams reported on PABIRDS:

    Subject: Erie County Snowy Owl saga continues
    Date: Mon Dec 2 2013 13:24 pm

    Drew Mortensen and Sam Stull report three Snowy Owls and a Short-eared Owl, all at Gull Point today. Two are very dark birds, which did not include the one with the deformed eye seen on Beach 6 a day or so ago. This makes at least five different Snowy Owls seen in a ten mile stretch of lakefront from Walnut Creek to the tip of Presque Isle in the past week. In addition, Sam Stull photographed a jaeger attacking a gull off Gull Point this morning. He watched the jaeger snatch a fish out of the air that it forced the gull to drop.

    Jerry McWilliams
    Erie, Erie County, Pa.

  4. Chadon 02 Dec 2013 at 4:51 pm

    Do we know who this Peregrine is? Shawn IS such Awesome photographer.

  5. Kate St. Johnon 03 Dec 2013 at 4:43 am

    Chad, I don’t know the identity of the Erie, PA peregrines but I’ll check & see if they’ve been identified. More news later.

  6. Cherylon 02 Dec 2013 at 7:19 pm

    Great story and beautiful pictures. The Owls are gorgeous birds but my money is on the Peregrines.

  7. Kate St. Johnon 03 Dec 2013 at 12:52 pm

    Chad, PGC’s Art McMorris says the birds’ identities have not been re-confirmed since 2011 but it’s reasonable to assume they’re the same two. Both of them are from the Great Lakes area.
    He writes:
    The female was banded as a nestling at Statler Towers in Buffalo, NY, on 5/29/2007, and the male was banded at the I-90 bridge in Cleveland, OH on 5/28/2008. His band numbers are (USFWS) 1126-06438 and (alphanumeric) B/79 Black/Green. So our Ohio friends are right to be wondering about their identity, and should be pleased to hear the good news! (I did send the info to the people in Ohio, and in NY, when the birds were first identified in March 2011).

  8. kcon 04 Dec 2013 at 9:49 am

    Here’s photographic evidence of the behavior in NJ. Edwin B. Forsythe NWR is also known as Brigantine.

  9. Kate St. Johnon 05 Dec 2013 at 3:08 pm

    Update on December 5: No snowy owls today at Presque Isle though 2 are reported in Erie County south of the city of Erie. Jerry McWilliams says that since first arrival on Nov 23 seven different snowy owls have visited Presque Isle. The peregrines are indeed kept quite busy.

  10. Chadon 15 Dec 2013 at 11:55 am

    Thank You Kate for the updates! 🙂

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