Kristi - Thanks for finding a great bird that makes us open our ornithological libraries!  I now have a mess in my living room.  Great find - and the first for Missouri in many years - Awesome!


Wanted to add to what Kristi wrote:


I watched the Jaeger this morning from a little after 6:30 to 9:40, albeit never closer than 350 yards.  However, a few times I got to see it in pretty good light even with the incredible overcast.  I have very little Jaeger experience, but I do have some.  Jaegers are a very tough ID - that is no secret.  Also one that the overall behavior and gizz goes along way in identifying.  I took a lot of notes, here are a few – which I think really aides in identifying the bird at Smithville:


- Tail length shorter than width of arm (this was consistent). 

- Very aggressive bird, this bird chased an Osprey, a Bald Eagle, Ring-billed Gulls, at least 1 Bonaparte's Gull, Franklin's Gulls, and even Black Terns.  Almost every time the few gulls rose off the water this morning, the jaeger was in the middle.  This bird wasn't playing, it was chasing them.

- Never observed this bird flying 'tern' like, at best it flew falcon like - Quick, shallow wingbeats.  Not buoyant at all making the body lifting with each wingbeat, which is what I would expect with Long-tailed.

- Sitting on the water, it is a bulky bird, not slender looking.

- In flight, very barrell chested, again not slender looking.

- Although the flash in the upper wing is very limited.  It certainly appeared to have a crescent at times.  But, definitely whiter toward the outer primaries. 


Anyways, I think the above observations are key in the identification of the Smithville bird. 




Joshua Uffman
St. Louis County, MO
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Bird Photos:

From: Kristi Mayo <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Sun, September 19, 2010 6:09:59 PM
Subject: And the jaeger is...

At the insistence of Josh Uffman, Tim Barksdale, and Doug Willis that my initial description of the the jizz of this bird (falcon-like, barrel chested, powerful flight, aggressive behavior) matched Parasitic, not Long-tailed, I simply had to get in a boat today and verify 1) that this is indeed a juvenile bird and 2) that it is, indeed, a Parasitic Jaeger.

I believe the photo shows that it is a Parasitic.

I still have a lot to learn and more studying to do, but I believe key points include bill structure, the tips of the outer primaries, and the plumage details on the head. Also the overall appearance of the bird as was throughly discussed in an earlier post by Tim Barksdale.

Thanks to everyone who has shared in the enjoyment of this bird. Always a learning process (and if you're not still learning, you're not still birding).

Kristi Mayo
Kearney MO (Clay Co.)
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