This week I have a fierce mystery object for you:
Any idea about the identity of this specimen? It’s probably not quite as easy as you think…
Comments of the cryptic variety about what this specimen might be would be appreciated, let’s see who can figure this one out!
Falcon or Hawk?-Grrrrr!!!!
is that a photobomb of it’s prey on ice?
That jet engine seems to be missing its tubercle. Yellow cere and feet indicate adults. Really long wings, almost to the end of the tail. Taxidermy specimens always seem so – messy. The subtle colorings get confused. Could be an extinct species. Or one from my back yard that had a rough trip from Mexico.
PS Legs and feet are little delicate for my neighbor. Maybe a male? Wings too long for the wizard. Hard to tell overall size from the photo. Might be a wanderer from Europe or the Middle East, haven’t seen many of those. There’s one species that is trapped during migration and eaten in Eurasia, by the thousands, it seems.
Sallie Reynolds: Did you really mean “JET” engine?
As a rehabilitator and falconer, I know falcons, not engines, so let me explain what I meant. When the Perergrine falcon stoops or dives, there is a tubercle or device blocking the nares, which breaks up the air that would otherwise be forced back into the bird’s nasal passage. He or she can then breathe while in a dive of more than 200 mph (and about 20Gs). Or so it has been explained to me. The Peregrine has been described as the “jet fighter plane of the bird world.” A bit of a rococo description, I admit. But they hit their prey with tremendous force, often killing it in the air. Not all falcons dive, and not all that do dive reach the Peregine’s speed.
My misunderstanding. Rolls-Royce used to name its aero-engines after birds of prey, including the Merlin (most famously used on the WW II RAF fighter, the Spitfire). I misinterpreted your “that jet engine” as a cryptic reference to the bird Merlin, but was puzzled because the engine Merlin was a piston engine rather than a jet.
Apologies. (In your follow-up post you refer to “the wizard”: is this another cryptic homonym?)
Wizard = Merlin! I really think this is likely to be mexicanus, but I’m not happy not knowing the size of the bird and I am not happy with long skinny bird-killing toes for that species. I’ve been trying to find smaller falcons with those toes. But then, many have short wings. The mystery bird’s wings come nearly to the end of the tail.
On fortieth thought, tinnunculus may get my reluctant vote. For the moment!
it looks like a very old painting I have (a print, really) from India. The bird is in a very upright position, and the colors match.
I’m going to go with a common kestrel 🙂
Seems that this specimen is missing the black moustache of the peregrine but it’s hard to rely on colors. A would suggest a larger species, a rotating one.