The peregrine falcon is classified as At Risk in Alberta with only 50 to 60 breeding pairs across the province. Populations have recovered somewhat thanks to declining pesticide residue in their food.
Peregrines are the fastest birds, diving at over 300 km/h.
- Wingspan is 74-120 cm.
- Approximately 45 cm long.
- Slim bodies, relatively large heads and long, thin, pointed wings that almost reach the tip of their tails while at rest.
- Small, sharp projection behind hooked tip of upper bill.
- Heavy black moustache patch and dark crown, neck and face. Back, wings and tail are grey-blue. Throat and upper breast are white.
- Migrate from South America north to as far as Alaska and Baffin Island.
- Prefer areas of riparian or marsh habitats but will certainly nest on buildings and other man-made structures in urban areas.
- Has a wide diet including gulls, small songbirds, small rodents, insects and pigeons.
- Arrive in Alberta mid-April.
- Nest and raise chicks from mid-April to late-July.
- Migrate south in September and October.
- Mainly monogamous.
- Meet and court (mutual roosting, cooperative hunting excursions, courtship flights and feeding).
- Birds return to the same area (often the same nest).
- Nests are often a shallow scrape in dirt or sand.
- They lay three to six eggs each year.
- Both parents egg-sit; mostly it’s the female while the male hunts to feed her.
- Incubation is 30-36 days.
- Attempt flight at about 40 days but remain dependent on adults for food for another month.
- Mature at two to three years of age.
- Live to be 12 to 15 years old.