group logo

Douglas County Birds: Peregrine Falcon

8:38 PM ยท Jan 13, 2023

Peregrine Falcons hunt an enormous variety of birds. There have been 450 North American bird species documented as prey for them! They have been documented killing birds as large as Sandhill Crane, and as small as a hummingbird! Peregrines often start off hunting from a high vantage point until they spot prey and then dive at great speed to catch their prey. They can dive at speeds of up to 238 mph! The name "peregrine" means wanderer. Peregrine Falcons have one of the longest migrations of any North American bird! Some Peregrines may move 25,000 km (15,500 mi) in a year! Peregrine Falcons typically nest on cliffs, cliffs they nest on can vary from 25-1,300 feet. At the beginning of each nesting season, the male picks out several possible nesting locations for the female to choose from. They don't build their nests out of sticks, grass, and other materials like a lot of other raptors, instead, once the nesting location is chosen they scrape out a depression in the sand, gravel, or other substrates of the nest site. In areas without cliffs, they will use abandoned nests of other large birds. It is believed that due to DDT poisoning, from 1950-1970 populations crashed. Since 1966 populations appear to have stabilized. Rodents and small birds would ingest from eating seeds and other food contaminated with DDT and then Peregrine Falcons would prey on them. The DDT caused them to lay eggs with thin shells which then would break under the weight of the parents during incubation. DDT was banned in 1972. During migration, they can be found in almost any open habitat flying or perched. A couple of good places to look for them near Roseburg include Fords Pond sometimes and Plat I Reservoir near Sutherlin. The Peregrine Falcons in the photo I took below were perched along the South Umpqua River in Roseburg.