Falcon Amazing Facts

25 Amazing and Interesting Facts about Falcons | Amazing Facts 4U 

  1. The peregrine falcon is the largest falcon and perhaps the best hunter of all its family. It hunts in wild uplands and rocky coasts, scanning the landscape for prey with its astounding eyesight.
  2. The Peregrine Falcon is a raptor, or bird of prey. Adults have blue-gray wings, dark brown backs, a buff colored underside with brown spots, and white faces with a black tear stripe on their cheeks.
  3. Peregrine falcon name comes from the Latin word peregrinus, which means “to wander.”
  4. Peregrine falcons are among the world’s most common birds of prey and live on all continents except Antarctica.
  5. Peregrine Falcons were virtually eradicated from eastern North America by pesticide poisoning in the middle 20th century.
  6. After significant recovery efforts, the Peregrine Falcon population is increasing. There are an estimated 2,000 breeding pairs in the United States and Canada.
  7. Their eyes are larger and heavier than human eyes and they can spot prey on the ground from a great height of 300m.
  8. Amazingly falcons can keep track of three moving objects at the same time.
  9. Soaring through the sky on broad, pointed wings, the streamlined peregrine falcon is a most impressive sight as it hunts down small birds. The force and impact of its breathtaking ‘stoop’, a sheer, high-speed dive is often enough to kill a victim outright while still in mid-air.
  10. The peregrine falcon is the fastest animal on the planet. In a ‘stoop’ they can reach up to speeds of 200 miles/hr.
  11. A researcher has clocked their speed up to 242 miles/hr.
  12. As per a BBC documentary film, only 20 percent of falcon’s high speed dives end in a successful kill.
  13. The air pressure from a 200 miles/hr dive could possibly damage a bird’s lungs, but small bony tubercles on a Peregrine Falcon’s nostrils guide the powerful airflow away from the nostrils, enabling the bird to breathe more easily.
  14. The falcon’s prey is struck in one wing so the falcon does not injure itself. It then captures the prey in mid-air; the Peregrine Falcon strikes its prey with a clenched foot, stunning or killing it with the impact. If its prey is too heavy to carry, a Peregrine will drop it to the ground and eat it there.
  15. The Peregrine Falcon’s upper beak is notched near the tip, an adaptation which enables falcons to kill prey by severing the spinal column at the neck.
  16. The peregrine’s courtship involves the male passing food to the female, often when in flight.  To make this manoeuvre possible, the female will roll over when flying to take the offered food from his talons.
  17. Peregrine falcon chicks mature quickly. They have tremendous appetites and double their weight in just around 6 days. At three weeks of age they are already around 10 times their size at birth.
  18. The male peregrine is called a ‘tiercel’ because it is a tierce (one third) smaller in size than the female.
  19. Falcons that nest on Arctic tundra and winter in South America fly as many as 15,500 miles in a year. Amazing fact is that peregrines will often return to the same eyrie (nest) each year.
  20. The life span of falcons in the wild is up to 15 years.
  21. In the UK the peregrine falcon can be spotted in the Scottish Highlands and Islands, in the Lake District, Devon, Cornwall, Wales and Ireland. Many of the peregrines seen wintering in Britain will have come across the North Sea from Scandinavia.
  22. During the Second World War peregrines were deliberately shot down in case they caught a pigeon which were carrying messages.
  23. Today, the main predator to the peregrine is chemical pollutants, which they ingest from their prey and are highly sensitive too. The introduction of pesticides such as DDT saw numbers in Britain decline considerably. These poisons do not break down in the environment. Instead they accumulate in the food chain and birds such as falcons inevitably take in large quantities of such toxic substances.
  24. Other factors which contributed to the decline of the peregrine falcon include gamekeepers who shot them to protect grouse. Their eggs are also highly prized by collectors.
  25. In Britain the peregrine falcon is a specially protected bird under the Wildlife and Countryside Act. Individual birds nesting in vulnerable areas may also be guarded by volunteers. There are approximately 2000 pairs left in Britain.

By Amazing Facts 4U Team

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