One of the most exciting aspects to fall birding is the surge of raptors that push through much of the U.S. on their way south. Some of these species may be moving a few hundred miles, getting to a more temperate region or dispersing from the nest to find their own place, while others will travel thousands of miles and leave the continent. These predators face many of the same perils as songbirds during migration, but they are also flying at the same time as these passerines, making their own journey easier as they can hunt at the same stopover sites for weakened, confused, and fatigued prey. You may end up seeing a Sharp-shinned Hawk snatch an American Redstart or a Merlin grabbing a Dark-eyed Junco. This Peregrine Falcon was resting and dozing off after a big meal last Saturday morning that you can still see on its bill, talons, and feathers.
I only posted a couple of photos with its dynamic and powerful eyes open, and there were plenty of shots of a drowsy looking falcon. Peregrines can stay with us in the Northeast year-round along the Atlantic Coast or the Great Lakes, hunting waterfowl, shorebirds or songbirds all winter long. You probably will not see them at your feeders, but checking coast lines, urban areas with tall buildings that resemble cliffs, or other open tundra-like habitats might yield one. Keep an eye out for an upcoming post of a banded Peregrine that I also photographed last weekend. I will blog all about it once I receive the banding report with its history.
Conservation & Outreach Coordinator