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February 24, 2012 > Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine Falcon

Submitted By Rose Britton

The Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus), also known as the Peregrine and, historically, as the Duck Hawk in North America, belongs to the family Falconidae. It is a wide-spread, crow-sized bird of prey with a blue-grey back, barred white under-parts and a black head and "moustache." The Peregrine is the fastest member of the animal kingdom, reaching speeds of 202 mph during its hunting stoop (high speed dive).

It is the world's most wide-spread bird of prey, found nearly everywhere on Earth, except in extreme Polar Regions, very high mountains and most tropical rainforests. It is entirely absent, however, from New Zealand.

Hayward Animal Control brought a female Peregrine Falcon, which had been found running around on the ground along the Hayward Shoreline, to Sulphur Creek Nature Center on October 12, 2011. On arrival, she was very thin but showed no signs of injury. Blood work and X-rays did not reveal anything untoward. After three weeks, she had gained 200 grams and had started to fly again. She was released on December 2, 2011, where she had been found along the Hayward Shoreline and flew beautifully. She circled her liberators several times, gradually gaining altitude, then off she went!

For more information about the Sulphur Creek Nature Center, visit 1801 D Street, Hayward, call (510) 881-6747 or email

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