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
Lanners are a favourite falconers' bird, and many are bred in captivity
Peregrine Falcon, Falco peregrins
and distribution: Widespread across mountainous areas of the Northern
Hemisphere, Europe, North America and Asia.
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
- 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.
- 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
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.
B52 bombers thunder down the runway at Fairford, in Glouchestershire,
spare a thought for a melodrama being played out at a somewhat different
Peregrine Falcon Missing - Airport In Danger
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.
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.
Phase Gyr Falcon
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
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.
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
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.