Rhode Island Zoos, Aquariums and Wildlife


Providence RI Zoo

Interesting facts about the Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine Falcons, traditionally nest on ledges of high cliffs in remote areas. In cities, however, they use recesses along ledges or in window boxes.

The Peregrine Falcon is the largest falcon on North America.

Peregrine Falcons can be seen all over North America, but they are more common along coasts.

The Peregrine Falcon is renowned for its speed, reaching over 200 mph during its characteristic hunting stoop (high speed dive), making it the fastest member of the animal kingdom.

The Peregrine's breeding range is vast from the Arctic tundra to the tropics. It can be found nearly everywhere on Earth, except extreme polar regions, very high mountains, and most tropical rainforests; the only major ice-free landmass from which it is entirely absent is New Zealand. This makes it the world's most widespread raptor and one of the most widely found bird species.

The Peregrine Falcon's upper beak is notched near the tip, an adaptation which enables falcons to kill prey by severing the spinal column at the neck

The Peregrine Falcon has a third eyelid (a membrane) used to protect to spread tears and clear debris from their eyes while maintaining vision at high speeds.

Peregrine Falcons were nearly eradicated from eastern North America by pesticide poisoning. In the 1960s, scientists discovered that the pesticide DDT was interfering in the egg shell formation of many meat and fish eating birds. Healthy birds were laying eggs with such thin eggshells that they were crushed by the weight of the incubating adult bird. By 1965, no Peregrine falcons were fledged in the Central or Eastern United States. By 1968, the Peregrine Falcon population was completely eradicated east of the Mississippi River. In 1972, use of DDT was severely restricted in the United States and worldwide. In 1979, the Eastern Peregrine Recovery Plan was developed to restore a Peregrine population to the eastern United States. After significant recovery efforts, the Peregrine Falcon has made an incredible rebound and is now a regular sight in many large cities and coastal habitats.

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