|One time donation of $50
Received by Fresno Wildlife Spring 2010
Species: Peregrine Falcon
Scientific Name: Falco peregrinus
Size: Body length of 16 – 20 inches, wingspan of 36 – 44 inches, weighs 1 1/4 - 2 3/4 pounds
I AM SPECIAL BECAUSE:
My species is the fastest animal on Earth and can reach speeds of 330 miles an hour in a dive! Our species is an environmental conservation success story. We were listed on the national endangered species list in 1974 after the chemical pesticide DDT weakened our eggshells. When a mother bird sat on her eggs, they were crushed, so very few babies hatched. After DDT was outlawed, we made a strong recovery and were removed from the endangered species list in 1999. We are widely used in the sport of falconry.
WHY AM I HERE?
I have an injured left wing and will never be able to fly as well as I would need to in order to survive in the wild.
I was found on someone’s front lawn in downtown Fresno. My left wing had been marked with indelible ink where someone was preparing to amputate the underside of my wing. Obviously I was being held illegally and I either escaped or was set loose so my captors wouldn’t get caught with me, as it is highly illegal to hold my species without proper Federal and State wildlife permits. They had already damaged my wing so much that my feathers do not grow in correctly any more and I can’t fly well enough to hunt for myself.
Peregrine populations were once endangered due to pesticides like DDT, which caused the female to lay thin-shelled eggs that were easily broken, killing the developing embryo inside. After the banning of DDT in the United States, The Peregrine Fund released more than 4000 captive-reared birds in 28 states over a 25-year period. Peregrine Falcons have adapted well to living in many large cities, including New York and San Francisco. Cities offer tall buildings with ledges for nesting, water sources, large populations of pigeons and starlings for food, and have few natural predators. The male bird is referred to as a tiercel and the female as a falcon.
This falcon is found all across America on every continent except Antarctica, and lives in a wide variety of habitats from tropics, deserts, and sea coasts to the tundra, and from sea level to 12,000 foot mountains. Those peregrines that live in cold northern areas are highly migratory, moving to warmer areas in winter.
Peregrines chiefly hunt birds such as starlings, pigeons, blackbirds, jays, shorebirds, and waterfowl, but will rarely take mammals, reptiles, or insects. Peregrines may use a variety of hunting techniques, but typically prey is captured in the air after fast pursuit or a rapid dive to catch the prey.
NESTING:Peregrine Falcons frequently nest near water on ledges of rocky cliffs or buildings, but occasionally will use abandoned stick nests of other species. They do not build their own nests, but will scrape a small depression out of the soil on a cliff. Peregrines lay 3 - 4 eggs, which are incubated for about 34 days. The young falcons fledge 5 - 6 weeks after hatching.
Picture provided by Milne Photography. www.milnephotography.com