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An Awe-Inspring Bird - perhaps out of place?


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TL;DR details:
(Looking to identify)
Large bird, ~8 foot wing span
Black with white RINGS or CIRCLES on the underwing, mid-wing not tip
Possibly not normally spotted in North America?
Located in eastern oregon flying above a remote unpopulated river

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The day was July 4th; my partner and I had ended up deeply remote in eastern oregon, on a river called the White River. We were at the bottom of the canyon, when up above us we saw the most awe-inspiring bird:

It was perhaps the largest bird I've ever seen (And I've spent plenty of time around golden and bald eagles) what looked to be about an 8 foot wing span. Immediately, I believed it to be a condor. It was almost completely black underneath, with fairly thin wings, and this one notable feature:

There were big, perfectly round, spots of white on the wings that looked like eyes. My partner and I disagree on whether these spots were RINGS of white (with black in the center) or large CIRCLE of white.

Importantly, this marking was not on the tip of the wing but rather in the middle, around the joint of the wing.

When I looked up California Condor, I found nothing with these spots. At the time, I felt I recognized this bird from folk lore, and understood why it would have become legend. I 

I now understand birds have been moving from all across the world to places they have not previously been spotted. I believe this bird is not a normal North American bird. Does anyone know what bird this might be? Thank you in advance!

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15 minutes ago, Connor Cochrane said:

Sounds like a Pileated Woodpecker in everything but size. Are you sure it was eight feet? Size is extremely hard to judge in the field, especially if a bird is flying up in the sky. There really is no bird that matches your description.

agreed. 

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Welcome to Whatbird @Sary. I wonder if you might have been seeing a juvenile eagle. Both Bald and Golden Eagle juveniles can show varying amounts of white under their wings. Check out the thirteenth photo in this link which shows a juvenile Golden Eagle flying with a juvenile Bald Eagle.

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Golden_Eagle/photo-gallery/60322111

Edited by lonestranger
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2 hours ago, lonestranger said:

Welcome to Whatbird @Sary. I wonder if you might have been seeing a juvenile eagle. Both Bald and Golden Eagle juveniles can show varying amounts of white under their wings. Check out the thirteenth photo in this link which shows a juvenile Golden Eagle flying with a juvenile Bald Eagle.

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Golden_Eagle/photo-gallery/60322111

I was thinking Goldie too. Check this out: 

https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/461112351

image.jpeg.a6b98de4f55f856210e55bc3a1ac73a6.jpeg

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10 hours ago, Colton V said:

How young are we talking? Would a juvenile make it that far out of range? (I don’t know anything about condors)

That record (the WY Medicine Bow bird) is a little bit of an outlier, but proves condors have the potential for some vagrancy. This bird is likely one of the Grand Canyon individuals. There is also a CACO record near Santa Fe, which is a pretty good distance from the Grand Canyon.

As for the possibility of a CACO in eastern Oregon, it would be highly unlikely, but not impossible. The Yurok Tribe in far NW CA just released captive bred Condors, so a record in eastern OR would almost assuredly have to be one of these individuals. 
https://www.yuroktribe.org/post/condors-will-soon-fly-over-northern-california-s-redwoods-for-the-first-time-in-more-than-a-century

As was mentioned above, a young condor with tags could look like two distinct spots. Another, far more likely possibly, is that the bird in question is a young Golden Eagle. 

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4 minutes ago, DLecy said:

The Yurok Tribe in far NW CA just released captive bred Condors, so a record in eastern OR would almost assuredly have to be one of these individuals. 
https://www.yuroktribe.org/post/condors-will-soon-fly-over-northern-california-s-redwoods-for-the-first-time-in-more-than-a-century

I heard a lot about this project before they were released, but I’m having a hard time finding any updates. Are the condors surviving? Do they know where the condors are living? Really hoping they make their way back up the Oregon coast someday soon!

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9 hours ago, Colton V said:

I heard a lot about this project before they were released, but I’m having a hard time finding any updates. Are the condors surviving? Do they know where the condors are living? Really hoping they make their way back up the Oregon coast someday soon!

The live feed page has a massive comment thread including updates from project representatives. This one from yesterday is interesting

Quote

Condors, like most obligate scavenging birds (meaning those which only eat carrion, or deceased animals, and which do not hunt), can go many weeks without eating. 1045 (A3), if you recall, spent two weeks away from the Release and Management Facility (RMF) after his release and lost 2 pounds, which was 10% of his body weight. He certainly seemed very happy to find the food that we put out for him, but he could have gone longer, had he needed to.

Based on the information we receive from their satellite-telemetry transmitters, there's no indication that any of the three birds (A0, A2, A3) have ever fed on non-proffered foods (i.e., those which we have not provided). When they become really good in flight and bold enough to 'strike out' on their own, they may take off from the RMF and be a hundred or more miles away by the time they roost that night. They will certainly encounter non-proffered foods during their journeys, which is why we hope that all hunters, land owners and managers, and sportspeople in northern California are using nonlead ammunition. Lead poisoning results in 50% of all condor deaths, and this is even with the current statewide lead ammunition ban, which was fully enacted three years ago. We will continue to provide food at the RMF  to supplement the diets of our condors, but they are wild animals now, after all (isn't that wonderful?), and there are many hazards that they will confront. 

 

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