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of its amazing aerial agility, the peregrine falcon is the favorite
in the art of falconry. In a classic power dive (or stoop), an
assailing peregrine falcon may reach a speed of 180 miles per
hour, making it the fastest of natures creatures. Sometimes
called the duck hawk, the peregrine falcon waits patiently
until its prey reaches an acceptable altitude before rapidly flapping
its wings, whipping them completely back, and plunging straight
down. At such high velocity, an attack on a bird on or near the
ground would be suicidal.
fearless peregrine falcon, which usually weighs only one to two
pounds, thinks nothing of attacking a four-pound goose. Rather
than using its talons to attack, this falcon typically whams prey
with its feet. Upon impact, its victim often loses both consciousness
and plenty of feathers. Sometimes the peregrine falcon retrieves
the incapacitated bird in midair, but more often it waits for
its kill to fall to earth.
male will air-drop kills to the larger nesting female guarding
a brood of three to five chicks. In open country, the peregrine
falcon prefers a nest on a rock cliff, but increasingly this species
has become citified, settling on skyscraper ledges and bridge
supports. Found throughout most of the world, the peregrine falcon
migrates only if its food supply does.
pointed wings may be twice as long as this 15- to 20-inch bird.
A blue-black cap and sideburns fade to dark gray on
the upper parts. The under parts are barred and spotted with brown.
Text © 1997 Terry White, Drawing ©
1997 Bill Harrah