Birds of Prey

by Reay Jespersen
(SW Toronto, Canada)

We live in the southwest corner of Toronto, a solid golf shot from the Lake, and have plenty of birds in the area, including spottings of peregrines and red-tailed hawks.

We came home this evening to see a bird swoop from the tree in our front yard to a neighbour's tree, where it sat briefly before pulling a small branch off with its mouth and then swooped back to our tree. After a repeat of that, we realized it was probably building a nest, and a quick look in our tree confirmed it.

This gorgeous bird was actively working with a mate.

I'd initially assumed it was a peregrine, but the one we saw closest did seem larger than one, and a quick check online informed me that peregrines prefer to build nests on cliffs and on bridges and buildings. So, not so much a storey and a half up a tree. That, plus images I saw suggest peregrines have some featured ridges of colouring on their breast and belly, which these ones definitely don't have.

All of which suggests that we don't have a peregrine nesting in our tree, but what kind of raptor is it? Any thoughts?

I have a couple of lacklustre photos that I took with my phone. I brightened the images and cropped them a bit for what I hope is a better look at it. Any insight at all would be very much appreciated!

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