Friday, December 24, 2010

Old Crow Is Now A Falcon!

This blog is to alert all my blogging buddies of the new pseudonym "Falcon" (alias Tom) has chosen for himself. I must confess, I was the one who affectionatley named him "Old Crow", because of my fondness for Crows, but out of respect for his preference I conceded to his new blogging name "Falcon". Welcome Falcon! Forgive me Falcon, if I slip a few times and call you Crow, my brain has to get adjusted to this dramatic change.

Falcon has chosen wisely his new name. I did some research on Falcon's and want to share their impressive characteristics. Here's what I found.


Peregrines adapt to their environment and live on every continent except Antarctica. They can live in the mountains, deserts, forests, on sea cliffs, in cities and large urban areas. They mate for life and return to the same nesting site every year. They are known to have substituted tall sky scrapers in downtown urban areas for nesting sites on cliffs.

A bit of trivia: While several states have adopted the cardinal, mocking bird, chickadee, and bluebird,no state has a falcon as its state bird.


Falcon's scientific name comes from the Latin word, "Falco Peregrinus" which means wandering falcon, traveler, or foreigner.

Also, the name falcon is derived from the Latin word falco meaning hook shaped and refers to the animal’s beak and claws. Falcons typically hunt small birds and they use their beaks and claws to swiftly immobilize and kill their prey while in flight.

There are 39 species of falcon - the Peregrine is one of five commonly found in Canada. There are 3 subspecies of Peregrines ~ American, Artic and Peale's.

5 types of falcons live in the U.S. ~ gyrfalcon, peregrine, merlin, American kestrel, and prairie falcon.

Peregrines are the most well known of the falcons.

Some like to migrate south to Latin America in the winter. They can migrate as far as 10,000 miles ~ farther than other birds.
Peregrines can live up to 17 years.

The female is called a falcon, the male is called a tiercel.

They vary in size depending on where they live ~ the biggest are in Alaska.

Their wings are thin and pointed, and span about 40 inches.

Slim birds with a small head. The male is about 1/3 the size of the female. Their bodies average 15 - 21 inches long and weigh about 2 pounds. The female will weigh about 10.6 ounces more than the male.

Adult Peregrines have blue-gray wings, backs, and heads, with white undersides marked with black bars going across the chest. There faces are white under their chin. They have large, dark eyes and very sharp beaks and yellow talons (feet).

Peregrines make a "kek-kek-kek" noise, especially when angry or aggressive.

They have very good eye sight ~ they can spot a meal up to a mile away.

They are raptors (Latin meaning "to seize") - birds of prey / carnivores - and eat other birds ~ sparrows, starlings, gulls, ducks, and their favorite, pigeons. In fact, during WWII they were often shot in England to keep them from eating the pigeons that were carrying important messages to the forces.

Falcons are the swiftest birds of prey and are very muscular. In level flight the travel about 50 kilometers (31 miles) an hour. In a dive, called a "stoop" they reach speeds over 300 kilometers (186.33 miles) an hour! Generally speaking, the higher the Peregrine falcon is in reference to it prey, the faster speeds it can attain during its pursuit the higher the probability of a successful capture.

They have a unique way of hunting for food ~ they dive at their prey so fast that they overtake it by surprise, catching it in mid-air, and the speed kills the prey instantly. They are diurnal - they hunt during the day. The capture takes less than 2 minutes!

An adult eats about 70 grams (2 1/4 oz.) of food a day ~ that equals about 2 blackbirds. For the most part, peregrine falcons do not build nests.
Occasionally they will use nests that have already been built, but they tend to dig simple depressions out of the soil on cliff sides. This cuts down on energy expenditures and maintains an adequate energy reserve for hunting.

In the city it has been observed that falcons don't like to land on the ground ~ even if their meal falls to the ground, they won't go get it. In fact, they don't usually fly lower than the level of their nest.

The peregrine falcon has also developed a proclivity towards city life. The tall buildings provide excellent opportunities to perch and the abundance of overweight pigeons provide a huge amount of biomass to feed off of. It makes the peregrines’ life a lot easier and it cuts down on city pests.

They are at the top of the food chain, so adult peregrines have no natural predators. They do however, face many threats from humans ~ use of pesticides, altering of landscape and habitats, egg collecting, hunting, and taking of the young for falconry. Baby falcons (eyases) are a tasty meal for owls, racoons, and mountail cats.

Interaction with Humans

The interactions between the peregrine falcon and man are primarily positive interactions for both parties. The peregrine falcon serves as a pest controller on farms and airports.

Falcon handlers train and use falcons to keep problematic bird species at airports under control. When released, the peregrine falcon peruses and kills birds that could get caught in and damage aircraft engines. Over time, the problematic bird species will stay out of the falcon’s established territory.
In recent years, the falcon is being replaced by specially designed sirens. On farms, peregrine falcons keep small rodent and bird populations in check. [1] This in turn maintains crop and livestock viability and reduces losses for the farm.

So you can see how regal and valuable Falcons are. Good characteristics, like you Tom. You chose wisely.

Alas though, someone has to be a Crow, so now I have given that name to my dear husband Russell. He was going to be "Darling Starling", but my heart is with Crow. What do you think Russell? Only the Raven knows, and soon you will too.

This is Raven-as the crow flies!


  1. Wow that sure is a mean looking Falcon.. in fact his claws show that he is with all the feathers but then again I have been know to ruffle a few in my time.. Anyway thanks for the info... I am looking for a Pix i took in Alaska of a Peregrine Falcon I will post if I find!!

  2. Hi Falcon. So happy you liked the blog. I tried to get a nice picture of the Peregrine Falcon, it is a beautiful bird. I found another one that looks very regal, not blue like tha first one. Hope you like that one. Sure would like to see the one you took a picture of in Alaska.

  3. So glad you like the falcon. He is a beauty.