Peregrine Falcon

20 July

Peregrine Falcon

The peregrine falcon is a resident of Southern Illinois, although not a common sighting…

at least not when I have a camera in my hand. In the interest of full disclosure, this photo was taken during a wildlife presentation at Kentucky Lake. In the wild I have seen peregrines at Carlyle and Mermet lakes. The peregrine is frequently seen on the Mississippi River bridges in St. Louis. One of nature’s fastest flyers, the peregrine falcon is 15-21 inches longand can reach speeds of up to 100 mph. Populations decreased drastically due to pesticide use from about 1940-70, but now appear to be stable due to reintroduction programs. The falcon is found in a wide variety of habitats. It hunts by flying very high, then diving to strike prey in midair. Its diet consists primarily of birds, although it sometimes eats small mammals.

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