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Thursday, October 25, 2012

Portait of a predator

Adult Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) perched on the outer coast of Bodega Head on 25 October 2012.  (Adults are slate gray, juveniles are brown.)

Although they eat a wide variety of prey, Peregrine Falcons used to be called Duck Hawks.  Can you find the duck wing in the photo below?

From the emerald green in the wing, it appears this falcon was feeding on a Green-winged Teal.

After it was done feeding, the Peregrine spent some time preening.

Whenever a raven flew over, she watched carefully.  (The large size indicates a possible female.)

She stretched her wings and spread her tail before take-off.  I think this is the best view I've ever had of a Peregrine Falcon's tail!



Anonymous said...

remarkable shots of that falcon !!

Alice Chan said...

We observed a Peregrine falcon this afternoon, for about ten minutes, hunting along the east side of Bodega Head. What a thrilling sight it was, soaring in today's light winds.

cricket said...


Dan Gurney said...

Great photos of the Peregrin. I've never seen one. Are they pretty rare on the coast?

Jackie Sones said...

Hi, Dan,

I'd probably say that Peregrine Falcons are "uncommon" at the coast. There aren't that many around, and it's hard to predict when you'll see one, but it's not surprising to see one, especially if you're in areas where they spend time. Bodega Head and Bodega Harbor are good locations -- sometimes they hunt along the outer coast, and because the harbor has good concentrations of shorebirds, that's an excellent place to watch for them. Other sites along the Sonoma and Marin coasts also have potential. If you develop a search image for them (keep an eye out for their distinctive sleek silhouette and quick wing beats) and if you spend enough time in areas they like (e.g., around large flocks of shorebirds -- watch for the shorebirds to flush all at once and then look hard for the falcon nearby), I'm sure you'll find one!