Peregrine Falcon

11Mar15

Here are pictures of the aforementioned Peregrine Falcon. It seems to have arrived a couple of weeks ago, but lately has been gone more than not.

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The Peregrine Falcon is the fastest animal in the animal kingdom. It has been clocked at more than 200 miles an hour. When they dive for prey it’s called a stoop, where they free-fall until they get close to the prey. They were threatened in California because of DDT (like so many other birds), but have made a strong comeback. Around the world they are common.
We don’t know if this is a male or female. Some days it is there and others it is not. Under the tree lies a lot of bird poop and a few piles of gray mats of fur. It moves from limb to limb day to day. Two days ago my son and I were walking back from the grocery store and heard a screeching. Looking up we saw the falcon land on the tree followed by another falcon, which passed and flew further south. The falcon that landed on our nearest tree continued to screech for a bit – it was loud, quite a racket for a bird.
Our guess was that it was screeching to make the sure the other falcon kept its distance. Otherwise, it was screeching to call the other falcon back. Perhaps a potential mate.
A few days ago there were around 2 dozen crows camped in the tree making all kinds of noise. It seemed as if they were doing all they could to make sure the falcon stayed away.
You know these birds are around, but it is amazing to have one right next door and be able to observe it day to day. It is quite extradorinaiy to see its behavior more closely, to see this kind of nature up close.
Coincidentally, I’m reading H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald. Originally published in the UK, I had considered ordering a copy from Caught By The River, but it is now available in the US. The book is a memoir from a woman who decides to train a Goshawk after her father passes away. The writing is very rich and poetic and you get a real feel for what she was going through, particularly in the experience of training such a wild, predatory animal.
On a related note, Robert Macfarlane’s new book Landmarks is just out. I’ve read his other books and look forward to this one too.


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