Friday, February 10, 2012

Peregrine Falcon


Peregrine Falcon

Where are the birds?
We feed ducks and pheasants each day.  Our yard provides shelter to robins, blue jays, grackles, chickadees and goldfinches when they choose to visit.  Crows nest in the woods behind our street, and in a cedar taller than the house, in the neighbour’s yard.

Where did the birds go?
Today the ducks have flown away and returned many times.  They did not land and stay to eat, kept bursting skyward.  The crows and blue jays were noisier than usual.  Raucous circling in the clear sky.  So clear, it was endless blue. The chubby robins were hesitant and brief in their trips to the seed cones of the Staghorn Sumac. The cats, who spend hours on indoor chairs watching birdie TV outside, meowed and moved from one viewing point to another.  They were up and down stairs racing from window to window, and up and down from their chairs all afternoon.
Agitation and noise.  Birds flew through and paused for a moment but did not settle and feed.
Mid-afternoon I discovered why.  As I sat writing at the kitchen table, I caught the movement of a shadow across the snow.  I looked up and saw a Peregrine Falcon drop through the branches of maple, turn and wheel between the sumac and the spruce, chase up through the hill that is our yard closing in on a starling.


I stared, my mouth agape.  I’ve never seen a Peregrine Falcon before.  It was blue-grey, heavy-breasted, with a 3.5 foot wing span, swinging through the yard with feet clenched, ready to strike.  The two birds flew up and over the garage and out of visual range.  It happened in a moment.
Though I know the starling likely ended becoming supper, it was a moment I won’t forget.  Raw and powerful.  The wheel of life and death, the cycle we all share. 
And the Peregrine Falcon, it was magnificent!

Our regular birds didn't share my opinion and showed wisdom by avoiding the yard today.

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6 comments:

Crafty Green Poet said...

I always feel sorry for the bird that ends up as supper, but peregrines are magnificent!

Jane Tims said...

Hi Carol. What a great sighting! I have seen Peregrines years ago but not recently. We go out along the St. John River to see hawks and eagles, and sometimes we see an owl. I love these big birds, mostly because they are so patient. Jane

Carol Steel 5050 said...

I felt sorry for the bird that became supper, too. But it is part of the cycle of life and death. We are all in it. Thanks for your comment, Juliet.

Carol Steel 5050 said...

Hi Jane,

I was thrilled to see this falcon, live and so near. It was amazing to see it closing in on the smaller bird. Gary ran outside as it was happening to try to help the grackle but it was too late. The falcon must have been scoping our yard all day as the other birds were nervous from early morning onward.

Carol Steel 5050 said...

I am upset with the falcon, though I know he is doing only what is in his nature. Yesterday, the falcon swooped down into the ducks who were feeding in our yard and took a female black duck. While it is part of the cycle of life, I feel sick about it.

Carol Steel 5050 said...

The falcon swooped into our yard again this morning. It is cloudy with snow, perhaps giving him cover from the shadows on the snow that give away his presence. He wasn't successful, but there are no bird sounds nor birds in our yard now. The falcon must be in the air above.