The Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) is one of the most easily recognizable raptors, known in part because it is the fastest animal on the planet – clocked at over 240 miles per hour. The peregrine is also the poster child of the USFWS Endangered Species act, showing recovery of a falcon that was on the brink of extinction (from DDT) in the late 1960s and early 1970s. The USFWS de-listed the species in 1999 as it had re-populated the lower 48 states. USFWS Monitoring of the Peregrine has continued across the country since 2003, and the final monitoring will cease in 2015.
For falconers, the Peregrine is the quintessential wild raptor and falconry hunting partner. When talking to a falconer in the US, or any country, you’ll hear them mention the type of Peregrine they are flying. This usually refers to the 19 subspecies of Peregrines found around the world, including 3 here in North America (Anatum, Tundra, and Peale’s). Additionally, the females are properly referred to as falcons and the males as tiercels. Wild peregrines can be taken as eyases (nestlings), as post-fledging eyases (left the nest but still in the natal area) or as passage hawks (taken in passage from their fledging area to their wintering area). Currently, the USFWS allows the take of passage peregrines only east of the 100th meridian, and only during a short 1-month window in the fall. These are all considered to be Tundra Peregrines (F.p. tundrius) migrating down from the Arctic. In many western states, falconers are allowed to take eyas peregrines and post-fledging peregrines, but not passage peregrines. This is true in Oregon, though no more than 5% of the young produced each year, or roughly 12 young out of the 185+ nest locations and hundreds of young, may be taken. Read more on our page about the Legal Take of Wild Raptors.
To learn more, read about the Peregrine falcon general facts. Better yet, look at the videos we have found showing the Peregrine nesting, hunting, and feeding their young that are posted below. To best understand the Peregrine in falconry, you must first understand what the wild peregrines are capable of in waiting-on, the stoop down onto the prey, the strike, and the kill. Falconers learn best by watching raptors in the wild, and then doing their best to bring such feats into the cooperative hunt of raptor and human. Below are a selection of videos showing the power and the allure of the Peregrines. These videos are a rare treat showing this powerful hunting raptor!
Wild Peregrine falcons hunting on the coasts of Japan