The distance and quickness of the event yielded an admittedly lousy photo, but it’s good enough to show that this young Peregrine Falcon has a lot to learn about what prey to target.
I was at Holly Pond in Stamford, Ct., trying to get some photos of a Hooded Merganser pair swimming in a small pool of water surrounded by ice. Suddenly the entire huge flock of gulls (Ring-billed, Herring and a few Greater Black-backed) that had been resting peacefully on the ice rose into the air started making a racket. I assumed at first that someone nearby had a bag of bread to offer the birds, but they all stayed above the water.
Then I noticed that a young Peregrine Falcon had swooped in on the flock. At this point the falcon was trying to single out individual gulls to pursue. Each chase was short-lived as the falcon quickly realized it was smaller than the birds it was trying to take down. Birds of Prey taking down larger prey is not unheard of, but this falcon did not yet have the strength or experience to handle a gull. It tried on three or four bird, got scolded and chased away, and eventually gave up and perched in a nearby tree.
Hey, you can’t blame the falcon. It was hungry and tried for a big, fat meal. Besides, if you don’t try, you’ll never succeed. The falcon learned a lesson and gained some experience. That’s always good in life.