Peregrine Falcons, The Fastes bird In The World

Peregrine Falcon Photo By Kathy Munsel

Peregrine Falcon Photo By Kathy Munsel

Peregrine Falcons can reach up to 238 miles per hour while diving/dropping which is about 3 times the speed of Bald Eagles’ diving speed which is 75-99 miles per hour.

Identifying Them:

This morning I saw a Peregrine Falcon fly by but couldn’t understand what it was. It looked a bit bigger than a kestrel but not as big as a Turkey Vulture. I soon realized that it was a Peregrine Falcon, a medium-sized bird with a wingspan of 30-45 inches and a length of 13-23 inches. Female Peregrine Falcons weigh a little bit more than the males which weigh about 330-1,000 grams while females weigh about 513-1,500 grams.

Peregrine Falco Photo By Mike Baird

Peregrine Falco Photo By Mike Baird

Habitat:

Peregrine Falcons live in most of the Western United States and lives in almost the entire state of Oregon year round. Just yesterday I saw a Peregrine Falcon outside a grocery store just flying around the parking lot, this shows that they inhabit lots of habitats but like cormorants, they love coastal areas. Peregrine Falcons like to soar about over mountains but can be found in so many different habitats like barrier islands, mudflats, lake edges, mountain chains and so many other open lands.

Behavior:

“The Peregrine Falcon is the fastest bird, and in fact the fastest animal on the planet, when in its hunting dive, the stoop, in which it soars to a great height, then dives steeply at speeds of over 322km/hr. It reaches horizontal cruising speeds of up to 90 KPH.” ~OneKind http://www.onekind.org/be_inspired/top_10_lists/fastest/
Peregrine Falcons can reach up to 238 miles per hour while diving/dropping which is about 3 times the speed of Bald Eagles’ diving speed which is 75-99 miles per hour.

Nesting and Nestlings:

The Peregrine Falcon usually nests on cliff edges. Females and or males choose their nest site, where the female scrapes a shallow hollow in the loose dirt, sand, gravel, or dead grass and or weeds so they can have a padded nest-shaped patch in which she lays their eggs. Peregrine Falcons can sometimes also nest on the ground by the cliff or a tree, there they pat down the sand or dirt and scrape it into the shape of a nest and may or may not add any material at all. Nesting takes place any where on the side of the cliffs from 26-1,000 feet high. Ravens, herons and gulls nest on cliffs too, so both of the pair spends lots of time defending their nests from coastal birds like those.

Peregrine pairs mate for life, year by year, laying 3-4 light-red-brown eggs, usually starting their breeding season between February and march. Incubation periods last between 29 and 33 days. During the day, the male will incubate the eggs and the female hunts but at night the female will incubate the eggs and the male hunts. The eggs will hatch and about 42-46 days after hatching, they become fledglings but their parents still feed them and take care of them. The fledglings remain dependent for about 2 months and then they are on their own, usually living for up to 17 years if they made it out of the nest.

Peregrine Falcon Egg

Predator and Prey:

They are carnivores and eat so many types of animals. Peregrine Falcons love to eat birds and will eat a big variety of them such as shorebirds, storm-petrels, pigeons, and songbirds including jays, thrushes, longspurs, buntings, larks, waxwings and starlings. Ducks and other waterfowl are especially prefered (earning their nickname, “The Duck Hawk”). 450 North American species have been documented as prey, but the amount worldwide can be as high as 2,000 species. The size of the birds varies and have been seen eating birds as small as hummingbirds and swifts, and as big as grebes, gulls and sometimes even Sandhill Cranes. Being fierce raptors that they are, they are one of the few raptors that will sometimes eat bats. They also will steal prey from other raptors which are mostly fish and rodents.

Peregrine Falcons have a lot of prey as said up above, but they still have quite a few predators, such as Gyrfalcons, eagles, Great Horned owls, and other Peregrine Falcons. As said in the “Nesting and Nestlings” Category, Peregrine Falcons sometimes will nest on the ground, but that comes with a lot of predatory problems, such as wolverines, foxes, felids, bears and wolves. Eurasian Eagle Owls are one of their most serious predators, but most likely will devour their nestlings instead of them.

                                                                       Credits:

A special thanks to Kathy Munsel for the picture of the Peregrine Falcon and to Wild About Wildlife (http://nestbirds1.com/the-peregrine-falcon-egg/) for the picture of the Peregrine Falcon egg. I’d like to also credit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology as well as the Peregrine Falcon wikipedia page for lots of the facts on the Peregrine Falcon.
~Faith Elise

 

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About faithelise

I love learning about species of birds and want to be an Ornathologist. Writing about birds is my passion and I love every part of it!
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