Peregrine Falcon on the Hunt

For the past week, a juvenile peregrine falcon has been patrolling from the treetops at Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo.

Newly fledged black-crowned night herons, which have taken to hanging out around the island at Nature Boardwalk, are possible targets for the bird of prey. However, the night herons seem to have evaded capture, flapping away with a burst of energy at the last possible moment.

The gangly young night herons, which have only begun to leave their nests in the last few weeks, are awkward and easily fatigued fliers, so the peregrine falcon has been trying to capitalize on their naiveté. However, to date we’ve only seen the peregrine swoop and miss when hunting the herons (after all, the falcon is a juvenile too).

Peregrine falcon populations were devastated by pesticides in the mid-1900s. Since then they’ve made an amazing comeback. Many of these falcons have adopted an urban lifestyle, often perching on skyscrapers and window ledges rather than treetops. They swoop down and catch their prey, typically other smaller birds such as pigeons.

You don’t have to travel to a far-away jungle or rainforest to find amazing wildlife, as evidenced by these majestic birds of prey. You can see these falcons on the hunt right here in the city at Nature Boardwalk!

Vicky Hunt


Does the Peregrine have a band, and if so has anyone read it? I'll bet it's one of our local kids, honing her hunting skills. Or trying to....

Vicky says, "I didn’t see a band but I didn’t get good look at its legs. We will keep an eye out for a band next time we see this bird. Thanks for the heads up."

An unbanded juvenile peregrine falcon was seen in the same spot a few weeks back. I saw a picture taken by a local birder and the falcon was unbanded. It will be interesting to know if you spot bands on this one.

Vicky reports: "I got a pretty good look at the peregrine falcon that has been hanging out around NB for the last few weeks and did not see any leg band."

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