Nike (Peregrine falcon)

Falco peregrinus

 

Peregrine falcons have been on the California Endangered Species list since 1971 due to DDT/DDE usage.  They are a raptor, a little larger than a crow.  They have a small rounded head with a broad, very conspicuous all black stripe along the side of the cheek.  When perched, their long wings fold back and the tips nearly reach the tip of the tail.  The back and the folded wings range from blue-gray to blackish-gray.  The tail is black with numerous gray bars and white terminal bands.  They are the fastest bird in the air capable of diving at 240 miles per hour.  They are also Description: falcon.jpgable to maneuver quickly at high speeds making their favorite prey, other birds, an easy target.  If they miss on their first pass, they can shift, fly upside down, and grab the prey from below.  Their favorite prey is doves and pigeons.  Ironically, humans have provided peregrines their most successful reproduction sites in big cities.  There are an ample supply of pigeons and effective nesting sites on high ledges of skyscrapers.

 

A rural animal control officer picked up Nike by the side of the road. His right wing was broken at a joint.  We were able to set the bone which did heal, but the joint is not flexible enough to allow Nike to compete in the wild.  Falcons must be able to out fly all other birds in the air to survive.  Nike is timid of people, but his enclosure allows him room and privacy to avoid people when he wants to.

 

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