Look, It's Frightful!
Well, okay, it's a Peregrine Falcon, but for those of us who really loved My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George, it could be Frightful, the bird trained by the hero of the story (a runaway boy named Sam living in the Catskill Mountains) in the 4000-year-old traditions of falconry.
The fastest of birds (take THAT, Jonathan Livingston Seagull, you goopy creature), Peregrines dive at speeds up to 200 miles and catch urban pigeons with a most astonishing puff of feathers.
The Peregrine can snatch a bat in mid-air. They can eat in mid-air. They typically hunt waterbirds, like wild ducks and coots and so on. They've been documented cruising along with airboats in the Everglades, using the boat like a bird-dog to flush prey. Which is kind of ironic, given our 4000 years of taming them.
I could go on. Peregrine as a word implies "wanderer," but the birds mate for life and often return to the same area season after season. Their mating rituals include a courtly bowing dance phase (oh, don't they all) and the female decides where and when to fertilize her eggs.
Like most raptors, the species almost died out in North America the 1970's due to DDT pollution, but have made a wonderful recovery once we stopped poisoning stuff.
They can be found on every continent on the globe except Antartica. Even in suburban coastal Florida on a random January morning.
A few references
1/27/2017 01:14:08 pm
Brilliant blog !
1/28/2017 08:32:37 am
Aww, thanks Len!
thank you, Rachel Carson
1/28/2017 04:10:53 pm
Earlier this day saw a happy Crested Caracara in the tall grass just off 75 in Sarasota. (had to Google image that one) If not careful this blog will teach folks something new every day !
1/30/2017 08:57:16 am
Ooooh! So psyched to hear that. I catch the odd glimpse of those caracaras when we go through Alligator Alley, but never enough to really be sure.
Leave a Reply.
About the Blog
A lot of ground gets covered on this blog -- from sailboat racing to book suggestions to plain old piffle.
Trying to keep track? Follow me on Facebook or Twitter or if you use an aggregator, click the RSS option below.
Old school? Sign up for the newsletter and I'll shoot you a short e-mail when there's something new.