The Falcon Thief: A Book Review

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It didn’t occur to me till I started reading The Falcon Thief: A True Tale of Adventure, Treachery, and the Hunt for the Perfect Bird that there was also a possible threat to the eagle herself: poachers, who steal raptor eggs and chicks. The Falcon Thief has come along at a good time.

Electric falcon

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It is barely visible, but on it there seems to be an endangered Saker Falcon. We were searching for the territories of Saker Falcons. Okay, but falcons do not nest in the grass? I’d love to see that fight: Ravens are somewhat bigger than Sakers, but falcons do manage to conquer, albeit those fights last for a week and falcons end up too exhausted to actually start breeding for another month or so! A bit further away, another occupied nest: a falcon!

Falcon on the Roof

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But appreciating the humble “flying rat” doesn’t mean that when a Peregrine Falcon shows up I’m not rooting for that bad boy. Mr. Peregrine Falcon , too busy plucking and eating to worry about bystanders, stuck around long enough for me to play paparazzi (badly, as is my wont), give up, and hand the camera over to Chuk for the shots you see here. She never looked up to see the falcon four floors above her head.

Snowy Owl vs. Peregrine Falcon

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As we have already mentioned here on 10,000 Birds, Snowy Owls are in the middle of a pretty epic irruption , and they are facing all kinds of pressure, from people harassing them to crows and falcons taking exception to their presence. In this video, two Peregrine Falcons take turns dive-bombing the owl, which does not like the experience one bit. Peregrine Falcon in flight by Tom Johnson. Peregrine Falcon dive-bombing a Snowy Owl by Tom Johnson.

Big Brother: A Falconer’s Journey and the Healing Power of Wildlife; by Rodney Stotts with Kate Pipkin

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The narrative takes place across two timelines: 1) Early in Stotts’ life, when he begins working with the Earth Conservation Corps to clean the trash-choked Anacostia River 2) Decades later, when he has become a Master Falconer and is taking on his son as a new apprentice. Through public presentations and meet-and-greets with his raptors, Stotts has introduced thousands of people to the wonder we all feel when spotting a hawk, falcon, or owl.

The Beach Falcon

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Long and very narrow – too long and too narrow even for a falcon, all but one: Eleonora’s Falcon ! Somehow, the length of its wings is apparent only in the first second, after that, it does become a falcon-like falcon.). Unlike other falcons, they do not breed in spring, but in late summer, to exploit the abundance of songbirds and pick up those first-time (and last-time) migrants from the sky. Trips falcons Greece

Peregrine Falcon vs Brown Pelican?

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” The book listed the Peregrine Falcon as a cavity nester which I thought was curious. It reads “Although the peregrine falcon is currently considered a cliff-nester, records indicate that it once nested in tree cavities. To make a long story short, I found the above video which I thought would be interesting to most birders since I had never seen or heard of Peregrine Falcon behavior like this. Birds Brown Pelican nesting birds Peregrine Falcon

Brown Falcon foraging after a bush fire

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A Brown Falcon flew into the parking area and immediately we were drawn to its actions as it turned over the leaves in search of any small creature that was weak or injured by the recent bush fire. Brown Falcon in the car-park. Having eaten one small creature the Brown Falcon flew just to the front of our vehicle and continued to toss leaves about in search of food and was not at all concerned about our presence! Brown Falcon turning leaves. Brown Falcon.

Listening to Falcons: The Peregrines of Tom Cade

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That summer of 1938, when he was ten years old, Cade read of two brothers, Frank and John Craighead, who wrote of their experiences with falcons in National Geographic. I knew no falconers. ” Falcons could be taken from the nest just before they were able to fly or caught wild after maturity. Except for the falconer’s jesses and bell, they were to be allowed freedom to pursue life in the wild, life with minimal human contact.

2019 70

Peregrine Falcons at the National Wildlife Refuges

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Peregrine Falcon ( Falco peregrinus ) at Delevan NWR (click on photos for full sized images). I’m sure most of you know that the Peregrine Falcon became an endangered species because of the use of organochlorine pesticides, especially DDT, during the 1950′s, 60′s, and 70′s. Peregrine Falcon at Delevan National Wildlife Refuge. Flying in excess of 200 mph in a stoop, the Peregrine Falcon is considered to be the world’s fastest animal.

T.H. White: When Writers Become Bad Falconers

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Macdonald is, among her many accomplishments, a falconer. White, who wrote The Once and Future King and The Sword and the Stone , and who was also a falconer – but a very, very bad one. White, battling with his past, his present, his future, a changing England, the upcoming war, his hidden homosexuality, his sadism, and anything else that might enter his head, takes it all out on a hapless goshawk stolen from a nest by a German falconer.

2015 82

What’s In a Name: Eleonora’s Falcon

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So when I mentioned the Eleonora’s Falcon in my last post , you may have assumed that the name was a mother’s day present, or an engagement gift from some impecunious ornithologist who couldn’t afford a ring. In fact, the Eleonora’s Falcon is named after a little-known heroine from a little-known island – a woman of such talent and skill that she richly deserves to be remembered in the form of an eerily clever bird.

Wisconsin Falconer Legally Traps Snowy Owl

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” That winter birding lull that plagues listservs and online groups with arguments seems to have reached new levels this winter as people debate not only how close one should get to an owl, but if feeding them ok (cause someone started a website on how to feed snowy owls ) to a direction I didn’t expect when a Wisconsin falconer live trapped a first winter snowy owl last week near Freedom. I haven’t always had such a high opinion of falconers.

Peregrine Falcon in Broome

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On December 7th an odd looking Peregrine Falcon was observed in Broome at the Sports Ova l. In Australia we often observe Peregrine Falcons and they are the subspecies Falco peregrinus macropus. The Australian Peregrine Falcons have a distinct grey hood around their head and neck area, but this new arrival to Broome had quite a different facial pattern. Peregrine Falcon on the light tower! Peregrine Falcon on the light tower.

IATB: Call for Falcons

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I need your falcon posts! Hey I and the Bird fans! If you have any blog post about those sickle-winged quasi-raptors from any point in your online writing history burning a hole in your blog, send them over to me BY THE END OF THE DAY TODAY! Send those posts to naswick AT Make sure you put IATB in the subject line. And look for the new I and the Bird right here at 10,000 Birds on Thursday morning! I and the Bird iatb

Falcon Wild by Terry Lynn Johnson

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Falcon Wild is a new book in that long tradition, and this one features a more realistic (though still very slightly romanticized) portrait of a human/animal partnership. An aspect of Falcon Wild that really sets it apart from the books I mentioned in my first paragraph is that Karma is sometimes alone, but never unconnected from society. Falcon Wild by Terry Lynn Johnson, $16.99, Charlesbridge Publishing.

2017 58

Prairie Falcon Attack on a Northern Shoveler

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On 11 November 2012 I was leaving Antelope Island in the Great Salt Lake after a fruitless morning of trying to photograph birds in a snowstorm and poor light when a female Prairie Falcon ambushed this Northern Shoveler on the water not far from the causeway on which I was driving. With the duck dead in the water the falcon would alternate between perching on the causeway while watching the duck and occasionally flying over it for an apparent closer look.

I and the Bird: What is a Falcon?

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What is a falcon, really? Based on their physical attributes and lifestyle, falcons enjoyed a very long run as a founding member of the order Falconiformes, along with the rest of the diurnal raptor-y type birds like vultures and eagles and hawks and hawk-eagles. Laughing Falcon, photo by Renato Espinosa. Like falcons? There was a time we thought we knew.

2013 61

I and the Bird: Looking for Falcons and Ravens

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Falcons are far more numerous throughout the world, so you better start sending your best work in now for the February 14 edition. Send your most fantastic falcon submissions to to I and the Bird editor Nate Swick at naswick AT gmail DOT com with “IATB” or “I and the Bird” in the subject line. We’ve got kestrels pretty much covered , but otherwise pour on the falcon flavor! We look forward to your Ravens and Falcons!

2013 53

Will parrots and falcons soon be moved around in your field guide?

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Here’s a prediction: Parrots , falcons , and seriemas are on their way to new positions in your checklists and, eventually, field guides. Traditionally, of course, falcons have been classified with other diurnal raptors, parrots have been positioned between doves and cuckoos, and seriemas have been lumped with cranes, rails, and other birds in the order Gruiformes. (If Separating ducks and coots is one thing, but separating hawks and falcons?

Birds of Prey: Hawks, Eagles, Falcons, and Vultures of North America by Pete Dunne with Kevin T. Karlson

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Birds of Prey: Hawks, Eagles, Falcons, and Vultures of North America by Pete Dunne with Kevin T. For most readers of this blog, Pete Dunne hardly needs an introduction. As far back as the late ’70s he’s been entertaining and enlightening birders with his essays and books on the hows and why of birding.

2017 50

Birding Ruoergai, Sichuan, China – The Raptor Edition

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Rarest among the ones we saw was the endangered Saker Falcon. Birding China Little Owl owls raptors Ruoergai Saker Falcon Sichuan

China 87

The Altruistic Pigeons

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Clearly the flock was being attacked by one of the local Peregrine Falcons , which is a common occurrence but it usually happens so high up in the air that I scarcely get to notice it. Scanning the sky carefully, I was able to spot the main flock of around 35 pigeons, a second small group of 5 birds that had broken away, and eventually the singled-out pigeon that was being pursued by the falcon (seen in the image above). Birds falcons Peregrine Falcon pigeons

2013 80

A Disturbing Development

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A recent paper published in the French journal Alauda (sadly, it appears not to be available in English online yet, but here’s the gist ) brings us news that Eleonora’s Falcons breeding on the archipelago of Essaouira have been caching prey during breeding season. The problem – and I admit this sounds so outrageous that reading it gave me pause – is that the falcons are caching their prey with the intention of keeping it alive, at least for a day or so.

2015 54

Quinta do Casal Branco: Lobo e Falcão Reserva (2016)

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A falconer and his bird from the Mosaico de Cavaleiro in Mértola, possibly the oldest depiction of falconry in Iberia. Colorful birds adorn many of the pages of the so-called Cervera Bible and several captivating miniatures portray hunting scenes with falcons. In English, the plays of William Shakespeare abound with the language of the falconer. Birding Food Reviews Birds and Booze falconry falcons Portugal

2019 63

By a glorious upward instinct drawn

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From “The Falcon” by James Russell Lowell If one were to combine the word “bird” with the word “superlative” the result would be the Peregrine Falcon. You can imagine my pleasure, then, when I had the great pleasure of watching, with Seth , a pair of peregrines cavorting in the air together in what looked to us like pair-bonding but seemed to nothing but fun to the falcons. Birds falcons Peregrine Falcon raptors

2011 78

Kamikaze Pigeons and a War to Extinction

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I am inside the city of Belgrade, checking the theoretically possible Peregrine Falcon site. Yet, not a trace of a falcon. ” Falcons do hunt pigeons, we all know that, but what is a Kamikaze pigeon? The falcon, obviously, goes after the slowest pigeon, takes it in mid-air and brings it to its nest, where it starts plucking it up for its chicks and quickly succumbs to the poison, as shown in this Peregrine nest camera footage:

2015 80

Birding Deliblato Sands: What I have seen and what I haven’t

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On the opposite side is a smallish falcon, obviously too short-tailed for a Common Kestrel, a Eurasian Hobby first comes to mind… but a male Red-footed Falcon on migration it turns out to be. Red-footed Falcon’s breeding range starts less than 50 mi north of here and I hope that some will choose to join a local rookery and stay. Birding eagles Europe falcons grasslands sands Serbia wind farms

2018 61

Evil Twin Brewing Falco India Pale Ale

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While I know falcons mostly as grim reapers of pigeons, as a beer drinker, I also happily endorse any agricultural implement inspired by the raptor’s most fearsome anatomical feature, particularly when it’s put to good use in the barley mow. The blend itself has nothing to do with falcons, but was named in memory of Oregon brewer Glen Hay Falconer, who met an untimely death in 2002. A Peregrine Falcon resting on its sickle-like talons, about to put the hammer down.

2017 60

California Peregrines Victims of Their Own Success?

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In a move that’s sure to stir controversy far beyond the borders of California, federal officials have announced that h enceforth, fledgling Peregrine Falcons won’t be relocated from nests built on bridges in the state. But it also means that some baby falcons are likely to plunge into a watery grave. Officials explain that the falcons sometimes prey on California Least Terns and Western Snowy Plovers , birds with dwindling numbers.

Birding Greece: Black and white world

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Now I break (and think that I should put a „I break for birds“ bumper sticker), bins… a falcon! An Eleonora’s Falcon , light morph, makes several circles above the Olive grove and it is gone. These falcons mostly feed on insects, but in the breeding season they catch migrating passerines – they even time their breeding to coincide with Autumn migration of passerines in late summer! Eleonora’s Falcons are migrants themselves.

Move, Birds, Get Out the Way!

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It’s got climbers grousing about Peregrine Falcons … … and beach towns coming up with creative solutions for wall-to-wall Purple Martins. Birds Conservation Killdeer nesting birds Peregrine Falcon Purple Martins Rosy StarlingThat’s what lots of people have been screaming (well, metaphorically , anyway) as the Northern Hemisphere’s nesting season does a number on various projects and events. On the U.S.

2018 40

Firebirds and the Future

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At some point, some kind of raptor — most likely a falcon — is going to independently invent barbecue. Birds falcons fire raptors tool useSometimes it’s hard to know what to think about science reporting on this vast Internet of ours. When you receive a link to an article in the Daily Mail , for instance, your thoughts do not immediately leap to “my god, a ground-breaking, perhaps even mind-blowing advance in the study of avian tool use!”

2016 60

It’s Nestcam Season—Take Your Pick and Take a Peek!

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Falcon Cam at Bowling Green State University in Ohio sheds light on the nesting habits of the school’s mascot, a Peregrine Falcon and her mate. News Bald Eagle hummingbirds nesting birds Ospreys pacific great blue herons Peregrine Falcon puffins webcamIn the Northern Hemisphere, at least, spring has sprung. Which means spring fever. Which, in the bird world, means babies. And who doesn’t love cute baby birds? Luckily, with March Madness almost over (go ’nova!),

2016 53

No Cute Title, Just an Owl Swimming

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Apparently, before his arrival, a pair of marauding Peregrine Falcons had harried the owl so that its only recourse was to drop into the water. News Bird Behavior Chicago Great Horned Owl Lake Michigan Peregrine Falcon swimming I have backlogs of bird news to wade through for you, but couldn’t help singling out this spectacular story. There’s nothing earth-shatteringly newsy here, just a rarely seen behavior that was caught on camera.

2014 68

Wildlife Rehabber Misidentification

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I have received so many calls to come rescue a baby hawk or falcon or some kind of raptor,” wrote Jennifer Dudley, and attached this photo. Someone brought me a Cliff Swallow he swore was a falcon,” wrote Louise Shimmel. The best I could do was to finally acknowledge that a swallow was LIKE a falcon, sort of, a predator, and winged insects are sort of like birds, as prey, sort of … right?”. “I

2014 82

Merlin Snags Dragonfly

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Birds dragonflies falcons Floyd Bennett Field raptorsA friend of a friend named Daryl Cavallaro took this stunning shot of a Merlin snagging a snack recently at Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn. Bonus points to anyone who can identify the dragonfly. The photo is copyrighted to Daryl and, no, you can’t use it without permission. Merlin with dragonfly by Daryl Cavallaro (click for a bigger version) … a.

2011 84

De arte venandi cum avibus: San Martino Siir (2015) – Aglianico del Vulture DOC

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So, in writing his own falconry treatise, Frederick drew on all sources of knowledge on birds available to him at the time, including the Aristotelian tradition inherited from antiquity, medieval bestiaries imbued with preordained Christian morality and symbolism rather than the careful observation of natural phenomena, as well as translations of later, more enlightened works by Arab falconers and scholars.

2019 43

Winter Mission

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And not far from that scene was my personal highlight of the day, when my life Prairie Falcon swooped across the road, circled back, and came over the car only a few feet above my head, then perched with prey and let us all observe her clearly for several minutes. A second Prairie Falcon just up the road – this one a young male – gave even better, closer looks. Birding Mission valley Prairie falcon raptors

2014 75

Birds of Prey in Flight

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Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis at Edgemere Landfill, Queens, New York Osprey Pandion haliaetus at Jones Beach State Park, Nassau County, New York Northern Harrier Circus cyaneus at Bayonne Golf Course, Bayonne, New Jersey Merlin Falco columbarius at Jones Beach State Park, Nassau County, New York Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platypterus Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus Keep your eyes to the skies! … Birds falcons hawks raptors

2012 76

Backyard Birdfeeder Bragging Rights, a Great Adventure for a Great Twitch, and More: This Week in Birding News

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Let us no more speak of this week’s extraordinary failure by a cast of Falcons to finish off their prey. News Allen’s Hummingbird Atlanta Falcons Avian Influenza backyard birds bird feeders Bird Flu Brood Parasitism eBird eggs Great Gray Owl poultry Project FeederWatch Super Bowl woodpeckersInstead, we’ve got other bird news to cheer us up (or at least take our minds off avian’s inexplicable inability to capture U.S. sports championships ).

2017 40

Songbird-parrot link strengthened in new study, with implications for vocal learning

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Last month, I wrote about hypothesized relationships between passerines, parrots, falcons, and seriemas , noting a need for further research on the subject. found support for several major clades of birds on which scientists have reached agreement in recent years, and they also found seven retroposons unique to a clade containing falcons, parrots, and passerines but absent in groups traditionally thought to be more closely related to them (hawks, woodpeckers, etc.).

Great Kestrel Count 2011

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Those bigger birds of prey command respect, but it’s not like falcons are unknown. Even outside of Atlanta , Peregrine Falcons spend their breeding seasons smiling for the ( web ) camera from atop edifices all across the country. But ask the average Joe if he’s ever seen a tiny blue-and-orange falcon and you’re likely to get laughed at. Birding bird count falcons kestrelKestrels may be the coolest raptors nobody knows of.

2011 66