Solo – Peregrine Falcon
Solo’s egg, along with two others, was laid in a nest in Clayton, Missouri. Before the eggs were hatched the female falcon suffered a severe wing injury. Sadly, she did not survive. The World Bird Sanctuary rescued the three eggs from the nest and hatched all three in one of our incubators. One baby had significant birth defects and did not survive. The second baby was placed in the nest of another wild pair and was fostered by them. When Solo was hatched it was apparent that he also had birth defects of the beak and right foot that would prevent him from being released into the wild. It was decided to keep Solo as an education bird, and he will be monitored closely for any health problems associated with his birth defects. He will be one of our special needs birds.
Since he is a very young bird, Solo’s juvenile plumage is now a lovely mahogany color. As he matures and loses these feathers through molting they will be replaced by the signature grey feathers of his species. Solo has quickly demonstrated that he is a fast learner and has begun his career as an education bird by appearing in two education programs at the tender age of four months.
Species: Peregrine Falcon
Latin Name: Falco peregrinus: peregrinus means “to wander.”
Description: large falcon; short tail; pointed wing tips; slate-gray above; black helmet on head; whitish neck; buff beneath; lightly barred breast; wing tips almost reach tail tip when perched; regional variations exist (very dark in the northwest to pale in the north
Sex: males and females essentially colored the same
Age: juveniles are a dark buff color with heavy streaking underneath
Weight: 1.6 lbs.
Habitat: open country, cliffs, cities
Range: worldwide except for Antarctica.
Status: once found across all of North America until pesticides such as DDT eliminated eastern populations, almost to extinction; pesticide banning and captive-breeding programs have helped with their recovery; seen year-round in the US, but uncommon to rare in the winter
Behavior: don’t build nests; lay 2-4 reddish, darker flecked eggs in cliff hollows; bare rocky outcrops, bridges or tall building ledges; 28 day incubation period by both parents; chicks leave the nest at 5-6 weeks; hunts by flying very fast and making dramatic dives or stoops to catch prey in midair
Diet: small birds, large insects,
Vocalization: rapid “kek kek kek kek”, repeated “we chew” at nest
- World Bird Sanctuary released to the wild over 80 babies hatched in captivity.
- Peregrines are the fastest animals on earth and have been clocked diving at 261 mph
- There are 3 subspecies in the U.S: Peale’s in the far west, Tundra in the central U.S., and Anatum from the east.