Itâ€™s a bird! Itâ€™s a plane! It’s…it’s…a bird? Actually itâ€™s a Peregrine falcon. But when this racing raptor dives by at speeds of up to hundreds of kilometers an hour itâ€™s easy to mistake it for something with a jet engine.
Falcons are master hunters and prey on other birds, and bats, in mid-flight. They hunt from above, and when they spot their prey, they drop into a steep, swift dive that can reach 320 km per hour! Factor in their extremely acute eyesight, even in dim light, and youâ€™ve got one formidable hunter. A bite to the neck and that prey is toast.
Not only is it fast, but the Peregrine can travel extremely long distances during migration â€“ flying up to as much as 500 km per day!
Did you knowâ€¦ the Peregrine falcon regularly returns to favourite nesting sites—one pair after another has used the same spot in England since 1243!
There are only three places on Earth that the Peregrine falcon is not found: Antarctica, New Zealand, and Iceland. This globetrotterâ€™s amazing powers of flight have enabled it to live across the world, from the Arctic to as far south as Tasmania and South Africa. Their round trips have been clocked in as long as 25,000 kilometres! In fact, their name actually means â€śwanderer.â€ť
The Peregrine falcon is a species at risk in Canada
Peregrine falcon numbers dropped dangerously low between the 1950s and the 1970s. Certain pesticides used by farmers â€“ including DDT â€“ harmed the peregrines by causing their eggshells to be dangerously thin. They were so fragile that they broke when the parents tried to incubate them! Thatâ€™s part of the reason DDT was banned in Canada in 1985.
Join Bring Back the Wild and choose the Peregrine falcon as your animal to protect
Grab a pair of binoculars and join in on the annual Canadian Christmas Bird Count
Encourage your parents to get their lawn off drugs. Instead of pesticides, invite good bugs into your yard to feast on aphids and other unwelcome pests. Worms, ladybugs and spiders are all natural gardenersâ€¦ make sure not to hurt them if you find them in your garden!