Featured Sanctuary Bird: Gyrfalcon

This is a winter to see a couple of rare visitors at Madison Audubon's Goose Pond Sanctuary!
The Gyrfalcon, North America’s most northerly hawk, was added to the 252 species on the Goose Pond Bird Checklist. The largest falcon in the world, the Gyrfalcon breeds in arctic and subarctic regions of the northern hemisphere. It preys mostly on large birds, pursuing them in breathtakingly fast and powerful flight.

Raptor Biologist Tom Erdman wrote “I don't think there has ever been a year when three gyrfalcons were reported in the same winter!”  The gyrfalcon, pictured here at Goose Pond, was observed on Thursday March 13. This immature gryfalcon is more heavily marked than the adult coloring. Thanks to Suzanne Harp for her keen observation on spotting the gyrfalcon and to Warren Rebholz for excellent documentation photos (see above).
Thursday was also a record day for eight snowy owls sightings on the Arlington Prairie!  Daniel and Amy DeKeyser observed seven snowy owls - you can see some of Daniel's beautiful photography on our Recent Sightings page. There were four owls within 1/2 mile of the Mueller and Portage Road intersection just northeast of DeForest. There were also three snowy owls within 1/2 mile of the intersection of Goose Pond Road and Highway K. Our resident sanctuary manager, Mark, was lucky to see five snowy owls including one on Highway 51. All owls were seen in late afternoon.

To learn more about rare birds at Goose Pond, or to plan your visit, contact resident managers Mark and Sue Foote-Martin at goosep@madisonaudubon.org, or 608-333-9645.