Peregrine Falcon

Falco peregrinus
Range Map

Formerly known as “Duck Hawk”, the Peregrine Falcon earned its old moniker. It specializes in hunting most forms of waterfowl, shorebirds, gulls, terns and about any birds found in marshes and adjoining fields. This bird was on the brink of extinction because of pesticides, but has made a remarkable recovery, given its recent protected status.

Peregrine Falcons are one of the most widely spread birds in the world. They make their homes on every continent but Antarctica.

For more than a thousand years, humans around the world have trained raptors to hunt for our benefit. Any raptor from eagles to kestrels qualified in this role. But these falconers prise no bird more than the Peregrine Falcon for this method of hunting.

Today, science recognises nineteen subspecies of Peregrine Falcon. We find the following members in the New World:

  • F. p. anatum lives in North America south of tundra to northern Mexico, but not in the Pacific Northwest.
  • F. p. tundrius lives in Arctic tundra of North America from Alaska to Greenland.
  • F. p. pealei lives in the Pacific Northwest from Washington to western Alaska, the Aleutian and Commander Islands.
  • F. p. cassini lives in South America.

Most of my meetings with wild Peregrine Falcons have been in various California locations. While on and science expedition to the Revillagigedo Islands off the coast of southern Mexico, I encountered these birds too.

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