Monday, November 8, 2010

Peregrine Falcon Feather?

Sunday morning we found an odd feather out by the chicken pen.  The chickens are now all secure with the roof on their pen, so I don't have worry about an owl or a hawk getting one of them.  And it looks like we got them safe in the nick of time!

feather found outside chicken pen
  At first we thought this feather must belong to Boy Guinea, but he has round spots on his feathers, not stripes.  Then we thought a great horned owl, we have lots of them.  Or maybe a barred owl.  But after researching them, it just doesn't look like their feathers.  Maybe a red-tailed hawk?  Nope, not that, either.

After more research, it looks like a Peregrine Falcon feather.  Here's a link to Google images for Peregrine Falcon feather images:

I'm not positive, but the peregrine falcon just looked the closest.  And then I researched the peregrine falcon - wow!  I'm not sure I want that bird around here!

From Wikipedia:
The Peregrine is renowned for its speed, reaching speeds of over 320 km/h (200 mph) during its characteristic hunting stoop, making it one of the fastest creatures on the planet.  It's wingspan is 31–47 inches, making it a large bird.  While its diet consists almost exclusively of medium-sized birds, the Peregrine will occasionally hunt small mammals, small reptiles or even insects.

peregrine falcon picture found online

My chickens are small to medium sized birds!  I'm so glad we got the roof on the chicken pen when we did.  Just a few days after we completed it, a monster came to get some chicken dinner.  His plan was foiled, guess he had to eat some insects that night! 


Knatolee said...

Gorgeous feather!! When Gordon worked in an office tower in Toronto, he once saw a peregrine nail a pigeon right outside his window. Explosion of feathers! They are mighty, mighty hunters.

Gail said...

Owls are lovely night predators.

When Dad would have a problem with his open pens, He would fasten a trap to a single post in the pen, since birds of prey always light on the highest point, we eliminated a few predators that way.

To some that may seem cruel, but a farmer's life is sometimes cruel.

Glad you got your top on.

Knatolee said...

Well! I have connections with bird people at the Royal Ontario Museum and they are on the feather identification case. I will keep you posted!:)

Terry said...

Whatever it is, it's a very beautiful feather.

Poconoangel said...

Good thing you got that roof on! No chicken dinner for the falcon this time! Good research!

CeeCee said...

Goodness, that is good detective work!
Are Peregrines big enough to take a full grown chicken? I'm glad you got the roof on your run in any case.

Razzberry Corner said...

Knatolee - These falcons sound scary! Bet the pigeon didn't even know what hit him! Keep me posted if you find out anything! Too cool! Thank you!

Gail - Yep, a farmers life must sometimes be cruel.

Terry - it is a big pretty feather. I'm really curious about what it is now!

Barb - I looked it up and saw that we made the chicken pen exactly a year ago. So the chickens survived for an entire year with no roof. I'm glad we got it done now.

CeeCee - Some of our chickens still are pretty small, not much bigger than pigeons. They are 5 month old bantams that haven't yet grown to full size. I guess they are developing slow. I think a falcon could pick off one of them one easily. Although he'd have to contend with a couple fiesty large roosters who defend the flock. But if the falcon can fly 200 mph, the roosters wouldn't even know what happened before it was over!


Foothills Poultry said...

I have a Merlin falcon taking out sparrows. That feather looks alot like his wings from the bottom.


John Gray said...

I have only seen one of these lovely birds and by gum..they move bloody quick!!!!

Farm Girl said...

We have them and yes, they do stalk my chickens. One day one was on the ground and he looked like a small Nazi marching up and down in front of my chicken pen, trying to figure out how to get in. Another time I had let my hens out in the yard and he was trying to get one, I was yelling and chasing him and he had the nerve to sit on the fence and scold me. They do move in when it starts getting cold. The sparrow hawks around here get livid.

Leigh said...

Hawks and owls are handsome birds, but not necessarily welcome birds. What a relief Lynn, to have your flocks safe.

We've found hawk identification to be quite a challenge because there are so many variations amongst individuals. Good job on yours.

Razzberry Corner said...

Matt - I looked up the merlin falcon, but couldn't find any pictures of their feathers. It does look like it, though!

John Gray - I've never seen one of these birds - guess they move too fast for me!

Kim - I guess they are also trying trying to figure out how to get in my chicken pen. The little buggers! I'll have to keep an eye out to actually see one of them!

Leigh - You're right, they are not necessarily welcome. But I do love to hear the owls hoot. In our previous house we had so very many barred owls. They were almost tame, they would sit above us and watch us. Now we have more great horned owls here. We catch a glimpse of one every now and then.


Genny said...

Lynn, I'm glad your chickens are safe. It sounds like you were in the nick of time! The feather is absolutely beautiful. I have seen a young hawk in the fields around my house twice in the past week. I think it's a Redtail. I wish I could get a good photo of it. I know it has to be hard to lose chickens to hawks, but all raptors are protected by federal and state law.