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Falcons

 

Lanner Falcon, Falco biarmicus

Distribution & Habitat: - Italy, former Yugoslavia, Greece, Turkey and parts of North Africa and the Middle East, favouring deserts and open country.
Food - All sorts of pigeon-sized birds which they kill by biting and severing the back of the neck.
Appearance - Lanners are intermediate in size between the Saker and the Peregrine, and European breeding birds have longer tails and longer, blunter wings than the Peregrine, with browner upper parts and pinkish underparts, and much narrower moustachial stripe.
Lanners are a favourite falconers' bird, and many are bred in captivity each year.

 

Peregrine Falcon, Falco peregrins

Habitat and distribution: Widespread across mountainous areas of the Northern Hemisphere, Europe, North America and Asia.

At one time during the 1960s and the early 1970s, populations were reduced to the point of extinction by a build-up of organo-chlorides in the birds' body tissue and fats, which resulted in infertility and thin-shelled eggs. In North America, re-introductions to traditional eyries (often hundreds of years old) of chicks from unpolluted populations (once laws had been brought in banning the use of organo-chlorides on crops), has now resulted in a near total recovery of the species. Professor Tom Cade of Cornell University was largely responsible for this, and his techniques have been widely copied here in Britain and Europe.

Food - Peregrines are the ace hunters of the sky, famous for their 70 mph (miles per hour), near vertical dives or stoops after flying prey, usually pigeons or game birds.

Appearance - A magnificent, heavily built, dark falcon with pronounced blackish facial markings resembling a moustache. In flight, its muscular shoulders are very noticeable resulting in a picture of grace and power.

Conservationists are celebrating after the removal of 29 animals and plants from the endangered species list in America.
One of the best known species which has thrived in recent years is the Peregrine Falcon. The bird was almost extinct in the eastern states of America by the mid-1960s.
Thanks to captive breeding programmes pioneered at Cornell University, the bird has recovered to 1500 pairs.


Peregrine Falcon Missing - Airport In Danger

AS the B52 bombers thunder down the runway at Fairford, in Glouchestershire, spare a thought for a melodrama being played out at a somewhat different level.
just as at the Lossiemouth base here in Scotland, Fairford has for years utilised the professional services of a Peregrine Falcon to keep the runway clear of a wide varietv of assorted fowl, any of which could theoretically down, or severely damage, a plane.
The -problem is that Cassie the peregrine falcon has "flown the coup" or been nicked.
Ground crews now have to drive along the runways playing hawk noises through loudspeakers and firing off blank rounds of ammunition to try and frighten off the flocks of seagulls and waders.

 

Saker Falcon, Falco cherrug

Habitat & Distribution - The Saker favours the open country of high plateau, steppes, plains, and semi-deserts of Hungary, Turkey and the Middle East to India.

Food - All sorts of pigeon-sized birds.

Appearance - Slightly larger than the Peregrine or the Lanner, yet smaller than the Gyr falcon, the Saker is, in captivity, frequently hybridised with these species to combine behavioural and flying characteristics for specific falconry purposes. The Saker usually has a pale head, with the crown feathers black-tipped with rufous, and the moustachial stripe often obscured.

White Phase Gyr Falcon

March 2000 saw a White Phase Gyr Falcon from Greenland captured, exhausted on a ship in the North Sea. After a week in Aberdeenshire, it was restored to full health and released on the moors near Braemar, in Royal Deeside. These birds are snow-white, dotted with light brown speckles.

In the High Arctic, such a bird sitting motionless on a white lichen-covered rock is almost invisible until it flies. The then become one of the world's most exciting falcons.

In medieval times the sons of noblemen were sometimes ransomed for such birds and there was a regular supply and barter line which stretched down through Scotland and Scandanavia all the way to the Middle East.

Readers may be wondering how, and if, this bird will eventually get home. Quite easily. Being blown off course into strange areas on migration and out of the breeding season is normal for many birds. It is how they discovered new territory and potential mates. They suffer little stress from the process. When the time is right, this bird will wing its way back the 500 miles or so to Iceland before setting off in due course for Greenland.