Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Falcon | Falco berigora | Falco peregrinus

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Falconiformes
FAMILY: Falconidae
GENUS SPECIES: Falco peregrinus / Falco berigora

Amazing Facts about Falcon
  1. Can see a 10 cm. object from a distance of 1.5 km.
  2. Visual acuity is 2.6 times better than human.
  3. Can see sharp images even when diving at 100 miles/hr.
  4. Falcon's scientific name comes from the Latin word, "Falco Peregrinus" which means wandering falcon, traveler, or foreigner.
  5. 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.
  6. 5 types of falcons live in the U.S. ~ gyrfalcon, peregrine, merlin, American kestrel, and prairie falcon
  7. Peregrines are the most well known of the falcons.
  8. Some like to migrate south to Latin America in the winter. They can migrate as far as 10,000 miles ~ farther than other birds.
  9. Peregrines can live up to 17 years.
  10. The female is called a falcon, the male is called a tiercel.
  11. They vary in size depending on where they live ~ the biggest are in Alaska.
  12. Their wings are thin and pointed, and span about 40 inches.
  13. 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.
  14. 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).
  15. Peregrines make a "kek-kek-kek" noise, especially when angry or aggressive.
  16. They have very good eye sight ~ they can spot a meal up to a mile away.
  17. 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.
  18. 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!
  19. 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!
  20. An adult eats about 70 grams (2 1/4 oz.) of food a day ~ that equals about 2 blackbirds.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.

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