Birds of prey I can't recongize.

I am an avid cycler and love the trails we have in this great city we call Toronto and I consider myself very lucky at the amount of wildlife I have observed on my bike rides.


I was returning from my bike ride about a week ago and was just by the old train tunnel just before the Riverdale foot bridge and I just noticed this really huge black bird that I had first thought was a Turkey Vulture, however, I knew it was not because I have worked with, and observed them before and this was nothing like I had ever seen before.

It was flying lower and looked like it landed somewhere by the River and I had tried to follow it but the brush was just too thick and I lost sight of it.

The wings were thick, and got thinner as they neared the tip of its wings, it was very dark black like night, and the wingspan must have been about 4, or 5 feet.

I have been riding this trail and I am never surprised by what new animals I may observe down there on this trail, seeing this amount of wildlife in Toronto is just amazing.

But this one bird I have never had the pleasure of seeing before and I do not know if I will ever see it again.

Has anyone else on this site ever had the pleasure of seeing this species of bird before?

It did look like a bird of prey.

Thank you.

Comments for Birds of prey I can't recongize.

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Nov 02, 2014
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Thank you Alexis
by: Anonymous

I hope I have the opportunity to see it again and maybe I will be able to get some pictures so we can all have a better chance identifying it.

Nov 02, 2014
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Still stumped
by: Anonymous

Thanks again Alexis, the bird I had seen was similar to the Golden Eagle like Alison had mentioned as her thought on what I had seen, it also looked similar to a Common Black Hawk, however it's the wing shape that's got me confused, the wings were wider at the top but went thinner as they neared the tips of it's wings. Maybe it was a new species, or a bird rarely seen. Thank you for the suggestion, whatever it was I am thankful at having the chance to have seen it.

Oct 30, 2014
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Strange Bird
by: Alexis

I had a look in my Sibley Field Guide and see another bird you might consider is a Rough-legged Hawk. Their wings span is 53". Why I suggest that is I was surprised to read that 40% of Rough-legged hawks in the Eastern Region are Dark Morphed (Black) and these hawks are known for their extensive variation in plumage from black to cream. Hopefully you'll come across it again and it will give you a better look at it next time.


Oct 27, 2014
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Re: strange bird
by: Anonymous

It might have been a Black Vulture, Alexis, I am not sure I notice that almost every type of Vulture I have seen the wings all look the same with the finger-like feathers at the end of the wings and this bird had wider wings at the shoulder and got thinner at the tips. I have had no luck seeing any references to the bird I observed.

Oct 27, 2014
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Strange bird sighting
by: Anonymous

Thank you Alexis, I have seen Ospreys before and have worked with them and it was not an Osprey. Thank you for your input I truly appreciate it.

Oct 27, 2014
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Re: Strange bird sighting
by: Anonymous

Thank you Alison, I wasn't aware we had those in Ontario, but I do know a lot of migratory birds pass through the valley every year. They are all black?

Oct 16, 2014
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Bird Sighting
by: Alison

Sounds like you might have seen a Golden Eagle. Lucky you!!!

Oct 16, 2014
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Might have been an Osprey
by: Alexis

I'm wondering if what you saw was an Osprey. I live in Markham and have a photo of an Osprey flying towards me in my yard with a large Koi in it's mouth from someone's fish pond. I identified it as a Turkey Vulture at first until I took a good look at it and realized it was an Osprey. A Turkey Vulture's length is 26" and wing span 67" and a Osprey's length is 23" and wing span 63". I have also read about numerous sightings since 2009 on bird sites of Black Vultures seen here in Southern Ontario.

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