|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|This is the first time I have had the opportunity to see a peregrine falcon. This is a wild bird cared for by Raptor, Inc. after an injury. I was able to capture this image handheld while the handler was transferring the falcon to its perch. The bright sun made exposure difficult, but helped with the speed and really illuminated part of the iris. Wish I had thought to stop down, but it seems to be fairly sharp. |
The Peregrine Falcon, Falco peregrinus, became an endangered species because of the use of pesticides - especially DDT - during the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. Pesticide bioaccumulation caused organochlorine to build up in the falcons' fat tissues, reducing the amount of calcium in their eggshells. With thinner shells, fewer falcon eggs survived to hatching. In several parts of the world, such as the eastern USA and Belgium, this species became extinct as a result. Peregrines have recently been reintroduced to Ohio where there are now 18 nests and 80-100 individuals scattered around the state.
The Peregrine lives mostly along mountain ranges, river valleys, coastlines, and increasingly in cities. In mild-winter regions, it is usually a permanent resident, and some individuals, especially adult males, will remain in the breeding territory. Only populations that breed in Arctic climes typically migrate great distances during the northern winter. The Peregrine Falcon is often stated to be the fastest animal on the planet in its hunting dive, which involves soaring to a great height and then diving steeply at speeds commonly said to be over 320 km/h (199 mph), and hitting one wing of its prey so as not to harm itself on impact. A study testing the flight physics of an 'ideal falcon' found a theoretical speed limit at 400 km/h (250 mph) for low altitude flight and 625 km/h (390 mph) for high altitude flight. In 2005, a falcon was recorded diving at a top speed of 389 km/h (242 mph).
The air pressure from a 320 km/h (200 mph) dive could damage the bird's lungs, but small bony tubercles in a falcon's nostrils guide the shock waves of the air entering the nostrils (similar to intake ramps and inlet cones of jet engines), enabling the bird to breathe more easily while diving by reducing the change in air pressure.
Information from Wikipedia and ODNR.
zetu, thor68, nglen, oanaotilia, jlinaresp has marked this note useful
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