Our Wild Neighbors

Peregrine Falcon

Falco peregrinus

A few atypically established in cities in all Canadian provinces, except Newfoundland

Image of a Peregrine Falcon, mounted perched on a branch, seen from the front with its head to the right.

Description of the animal

  • Morphology of a bird hunter. The Peregrine Falcon snatches, catches, and eats its prey in mid-flight.
  • Slate grey-blue plumage on the head and back, and whitish colour on the throat and breast.
  • Yellow bill.
  • Long black mustache covering its cheeks.
  • Length of the female: 50 centimetres. Length of the male: 40 centimetres. The female is roughly a third longer than the male.
  • Female’s weight: over 900 grams. Male’s weight: a little over 600 grams.

Habitat and needs

  • Is carnivorous. The Peregrine Falcon eats primarily medium-sized birds, pigeons among others. At times, it varies its menu by eating small mammals or large insects captured on the ground.
  • Uses the same nesting area year after year. Cliffs near bodies of water are its favourite nesting habitat.
  • Is the world’s fastest bird. The Peregrine Falcon reaches speeds over 300 km/hr. when diving in flight.

Relationship

  • Falconers have trained the Peregrine Falcon to hunt small game and to perform in shows featuring birds of prey.
  • Pesticides and industrial pollutants first contaminated its prey, and then accumulated in its body. These irritants nearly eliminated the species. In the mid-20th century, the Peregrine Falcon had almost disappeared.
  • From 1975 to 1998, the Peregrine Falcon was raised in captivity. More than 1 500 birds were then released in Canada. This reintroduction effort worked. Today, the population is numerous, varying between 5 000 and 50 000 adults.
  • The Peregrine Falcon at times nests in the city on bridges and high buildings.
  • It feeds on several bird species, including some considered to be pests, the pigeon in particular.

Living with them

  • Avoid invading the Peregrine Falcon’s traditional nesting sites. Sports like rock climbing, hang-gliding, and paragliding disturb it.
  • To help protect the Peregrine Falcon, report its presence to the Department of Natural Resources Canada.
  • If a Peregrine Falcon is injured, contact the appropriate authorities or a bird-of-prey rehabilitation centre.

Participating cities where this animal has been seen