Monday, February 13, 2012
Sunday, February 12, 2012
- The peregrine falcon's scientific name is Falco peregrinus, which means "falcon wanderer".
- Three subspecies are recognized in North America: F.p. pealei from the coastal islands off Alaska; F.p. tundrius, which nests above the tree line in the Arctic; and F.p. anatum, which once ranged over North America from coast to coast.
- Peregrine falcons are about the size and weight of a crow.
- Peregrines normally grow to 15 inches in length with a 40-inch wingspan.
- The speed of a peregrine has been said to reach 175 miles per hour or more. Experiments conducted by scientists put the bird's diving speed at approximately 82 miles per hour and level flight at approximately 62 miles per hour.
- Females are larger and more powerful than males. Adults have slate dark blue-gray wings and backs barred with black, pale undersides, white faces with a black stripe on each cheek, and large, dark eyes. Their wings are long and pointed.
- Their prey includes ducks, pheasants, and pigeons. Biologists are frequently surprised by the variety of species brought to Ohio nests. Remains of meadowlarks, chimney swifts, and woodcock show that falcons find many different birds in their urban surroundings.
- Prey is caught in flight. Using its great speed, the falcon delivers a powerful blow to its prey with a half-closed foot. It retrieves the dead bird either in mid-air or after it falls to the ground.
- Although they have a high mortality rate, peregrines have been known to live as long as 15 years.