The Peregrine Falcon of the Pacific Northwest
The peregrine falcon can be found on all parts of the coast and can be seen at the forest edge and atop utility poles at the edge of the road. The Peregrine Falcon is a bird of prey. Adults have blue gray wings, dark brown backs, a creamy brown colored underside with brown spots, and white faces with a black tear stripe on their cheeks. They have a hooked beaks and strong talons. Their name comes from the Latin word peregrinus, which means “to wander.” They are commonly referred to as the duck hawk.
Did you know that the Peregrine falcons are the fastest flying birds in the world? They can reach speeds of up to 320 km an hour during a dive. That’s pretty fast.
The peregrine falcon is found on every continent except Antarctica, and lives in a wide variety of habitats from tropical, deserts, and maritime to the tundra, and from sea level to 3,500 meters.
Peregrines chiefly hunt birds such as starlings, pigeons, robins, jays, shorebirds, and waterfowl, but will sometimes take mammals, reptiles, or insects. Peregrines may use a variety of hunting techniques, but typically prey is captured in the air after fast pursuit or a rapid dive to catch the prey. We had one around our house for a few years who would grab birds from my yard and throw them against my house, he would then pick up the unconscious bird and sit under a special tree to eat them.
Peregrine falcons frequently nest near water on ledges of rocky cliffs or buildings, but occasionally will use abandoned stick nests of other species. Peregrines lay up to 4 eggs, which are incubated for about 35 days. The young falcons fledge in about 6 weeks from hatching.