By USFWS photo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By USFWS photo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)

Range
Throughout North America. Endangered because of DDT effects in the 1950s; brought back because of major efforts by concerned organizations and dedicated people. The US Fish and Wildlife Service has removed the Peregrine Falcon from the Endangered Species list. While there are Peregrine nest sites in VA, it remains on the Threatened list on the state.

Size
Length          14-19 inches
Wingspan     37-46 inches
Weight          16-32 ounces

Habitat
Near high cliffs; will use urban structures, such as skyscrapers, if natural cliffs not available. Is tolerant of wide climatic variations.

Diet
Birds, almost exclusively, primarily ducks and seabirds. In cities they are known to eat pigeons.

Characteristics
Dark head, with a thick, dark mustache mark. Dark brown eyes; its eye rings, cere, and legs are yellow. Only North American falcon whose wings almost touch the tip of the tail in perched birds. May hunt by swooping down on prey from off a high cliff ledge or building, but prefer to wait far aloft to spot avian prey – and then "stooping" from a great height, at high speeds, to hit the prey in the air and tumble it to the ground. When in a stoop, the Peregrine can reach a speed of 200 mph and is the bird world's fastest flyer.


Meet RCV's resident education Peregrine Falcon - Spirit!