Some late raptor migrants linger at Fort

This week at Fort Jefferson, a handful of raptors are still visible on a daily basis. An American kestrel, cooper’s hawk, peregrine falcon, and female northern harrier were all spotted in the last twenty-four hours.

The last large (presumable female) cooper's hawk seen patrolling the parade ground.

I’ve posted two photos of the harrier that show the white rump patch that helps sex the bird as a female, as well as a profile photo depicting the distinctive owl-like facial “disc” of feathers unique to the harrier in the hawk world.

Shot of the female harrier flying away, showing the stark white rump patch.

Profile of the female harrier, note the indentation of facial feathers, or "disc," which is used to aid in sight hunting.

The photo of the white-winged doves shows two clean profiles of the birds as they were milling about the parade ground. They are easily distinguished from mourning doves by their lack of black spots and stark white wing edges.

Two of the four white-winged doves seen in the parade ground yesterday and today, the white wing patches visible on each bird.

Hope these photos help in your identification quest of birds of the Dry Tortugas.

Happy birding,

–Chelsea B.

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