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Field Guide for all the Birds of North America

Peregrine Falcon

Faucon pèlerin

Falco peregrinus

Information, images and range maps on over 1,000 birds of North America, including sub-species, vagrants, introduced birds and possibilities

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Species; The Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus), once called the "Duck Hawk" is found on all the continents except Antarctica. In North America there are at least three sub-species, the Tundra and Peale's are the best known. One of the top choices used by falconers for centuries. Peregrine Falcon takes its prey on the wing, typically striking them from above or chasing them down. Records have shown, when in a stoop (dive), speeds of over 250 miles per hour and more are achieved. These falcons were put on the endangered list because of the their very low numbers in the 1960's and 70's, because of the damages of DDT, a pesticide which caused eggs to develop with very thin shells, breaking before the chick could develop. Today, because of conservation and the efforts of the birding communities, these falcons are increasing in numbers and are found throughout cities and waterways.

Distinctions; Male and female are similar, female larger of the two. Blue to grayish blue back, dark head, dark feathers extending down sides of neck, representing moustaches, long pointed wings, checkered beneath, white upper breast, with thin dark barring below, double toothed identifying it a member of the falcon family. Able to soar, strong and rapid wing beats, extending from high over body to equally far below body. Juvenile similar to parents, except browner, with bolder streaking on its breast.

Voice; Similar to other hawks' cries, sounds like kack-kack-kack.

Nesting; Three to four cream-coloured eggs, with brown marking, one brood per year. Nest built on high ledges of cliffs, tall buildings, bridges or man-made towers, most likely near a source of water. Nest shaped out with small amount of materials.

Birds of North America
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Peregrine Falcon

Life, Habitat & Pictures of the Peregrine Falcon

B L W W W Family Latin Name
16" 40.6cm 41" 104.1cm 1.6lb. 725.8g Falconidae Falco peregrinus

  • Summer
  • Year Around
  • Winter
Peregrine_Falcon, falcons

Distribution; Summer breeding range is across the arctic, from Northern Quebec to Western Alaska. Breeds along the Pacific coastlines from Alaska to California. Throughout the Rocky Mountains into Mexico. Common breeder in many cities in the eastern regions. Seen along all the eastern coastlines, from Newfoundland, south to Florida, west to Texas.

References to Other Bird Sites:

These are links to websites pertaining to the different birding institutions, societies and organizations here in North America. Some of these same sites are a great asset to seeking out knowledge on birds in other regions of the world. Each of these links offer the user different methods to identify birds, whether it be by regions, habitat, appearance or maybe colour. Knowledge on the possibilities of where and what birds might be present are included.

Hinterland Who's Who Welcome to the Web site for Hinterland Who's Who It all started in 1963, with black-and-white vignettes about the loon, the moose, the gannet and the beaver. For more than 50 years, Hinterland Who’s Who has proudly been bringing Canada’s iconic wildlife directly into Canadians’ homes. Re-launched in 2003, the new series serves to rebuild the connection thousands of viewers made with wildlife through the original series. Welcome to our new website! Have a look around, and learn how you can help ensure that the wildlife remains part of what it means to be Canadian.

Avibase - the world bird database This site provides the user with a complete list of bird species, broken down per country, or in the example of the US or Canada, per state and province. Here, bird species names are available in other languages, a great asset to be used as a translation of foreign bird names.

ABA - American Birding Association This site represents an organization that maintains official records of all birds species that have been proven to have been seen inside the perimeters of the North American Continent and the surrounding bodies of water. Regular revised versions are posted to keep the bird list current at all times. This is the list used by all serious birders over their lifetime. You may be aware of the movie called the "Big Year". It was with this list that all the competing birders used in an attempt to set a new record as to how many bird species that could be seen by an individual birder in one calendar year.

The description to follow is taken from the AOS Home Page.

AOS - The American Ornitholgy Society is an international society devoted to advancing the scientific understanding of birds, enriching ornithology as a profession, and promoting a rigorous scientific basis for the conservation of birds. As one of the world's oldest and largest ornithological societies, AOS produces scientific publications of the highest quality, hosts intellectually engaging and professionally vital meetings, serves ornithologists at every career stage, pursues a global perspective, and informs public policy on all issues important to ornithology and ornithological collections. AOS is distinguished by its tremendous collective expertise, including eminent scientists, conservation practitioners, early career innovators, and students.

ABC - American Bird Conservancy This is an organization started in Europe and is now formed in North America in the 1990's. It bases its goal on four approaches, Halt extinctions, Protect habitat, Eliminate threats and to Build capacity. One of their ways of achieving these goals, is by purchasing and leasing lands around already protected lands and creating larger safe zones for all its habitants.

eBird - TheCornellLab of Ornithology eBird is a must for any individual, who has an interest in birds. This site allows users to sign up and participate in recording birds seen on a daily basis as well as the location, for any bird species seen in the world. In addition, users can use the existing data to search out the location of bird species throughout the year. By using filters, information as to the movements can be determined. Photos can be added to identify individual birds. Migration pattern can be calculated using information by months or years as needed. Range maps can be verified, allowing the users to see where the presence of individual bird species are expected to be at certain times of the year.

NA - National Geographic The Society of National Geographic provides some of the best books available for those who have an interest in birds. The book called "The Complete Birds of North America", is a book recommended to be part of any birders library. This book covers all the native and vagrant species of birds seen on the North American Continent. It provides information on all the birds listed on the ABA bird list. This book goes into great details, describing the individual species and their races. That aside, their website provides wonderful information pertaining to many articles regarding nature.

NAC - National Audubon Society The National Audubon Society is the oldest organization in North America. It was initially formed for the preservation of egrets and herons as well as waders, who were being hunted and killed, so their feathers could be used in the clothing industry. Today, there are many chapters of the NAS all over the continent and all individual groups have a common goal, to educate the public. In doing so, creating awareness of the birds and their plights. They were the driving force in promoting the original international laws, protecting migratory birds. Today, their website has made information available on articles, images and sounds, relating to all the native birds seen in North America.

I hope you will take advantage of these suggested websites. I have used each of them, in one way or another, throughout the years in my quest to better identify and understand our fine feathered friends.

Classic Collection of North American Birds