Grand daughter Shelby noticed this bird sitting in my back yard this afternoon. It caught her attention because it was so large. She thought it looked like a hawk or falcon. We both did some research, and she was right. From what I can tell comparing my picture with pictures of falcons, it looks like a Peregrine Falcon and would have migrated here. This one was surrounded by a cloud of feathers on the ground, and he was tearing at and eating a fresh kill. By the looks of the feathers, we figured the meal was a dove. It feeds primarily on birds which it takes in midair after a steep, swift dive from above them. Which means that poor dove didn’t stand a chance. He eventually flew off with what was left of his dinner. We have lots of doves in the yard, so he may turn up again sometime. Here’s some fun facts about this bird.
- The Peregrine Falcon is the fastest bird on record when in diving posture, called a stoop, at 175 mph or more.
- The Latin name “peregrinus” means “coming from foreign parts” which is fitting because they have one of the longest migrations of any North American bird.
- These falcons were given Endangered Species status after decimation of the population from exposure to DDT in insecticides. A successful recovery effort resulted in removal from the U.S. list in 1999.
- A group of falcons has many collective nouns, including a "bazaar", "eyrie", "ringing", "stooping up", and a "tower" of falcons