|Copyright: Brett West (bwest) (28)|
|Date Taken: 2006-08-20|
|Exposure: f/4, 1/80 seconds|
|More Photo Info: [view]|
|Photo Version: Final Version, Original Version|
|Date Submitted: 2006-08-21 4:54|
|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)|
Photo taken through a cage at Zoo America in Hershey, PA. The image was cropped from its original, and bumped up the contrast. This was the first time I've seen one face to face. I would love to see one of these guys in a dive one day!
The Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus), sometimes formerly known in North America as Duck Hawk, is a medium-sized falcon about the size of a large crow: 38-53 cm (15 to 21 inches) long. The English and scientific species names mean "wandering falcon", and refer to the fact that some populations are migratory. It has a wingspan of about 1 metre (40 inches). Males weigh 570-710 grams; the noticeably larger females weigh 910-1190 grams.
The Peregrine Falcon is the fastest creature on the planet in its hunting dive, the stoop, in which it soars to a great height, then free falls at speeds in excess of 420 km/h (260mph) into either wing of its prey, so as not to harm itself on impact. Although not self-propelled speeds, due to the fact that the falcon gathers the momentum and controls its dive, capture (if any) and landing in its own right, technically there is no faster animal.
Peregrine Falcons live mostly along mountain ranges, river valleys, and coastlines and increasingly, in cities. They are widespread throughout the entire world and are found on all continents except Antarctica.
The Peregrine Falcon became endangered because of the overuse of pesticides, during the 1950s and 1960s. Pesticide build-up interfered with reproduction, thinning eggshells and severely restricting the ability of birds to reproduce. The DDT buildup in the falcon's fat tissues would result in less calcium in the eggshells, leading to flimsier, more fragile eggs. In several parts of the world, this species was wiped out by pesticides.
Peregrine eggs and chicks are often targeted by thieves and collectors, so the location of their nest should not be revealed, unless they are protected.
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