This Red-tailed Hawk perched in the backyard during a recent steamy day in southern New England. I like the way it is showing its feathers while perched on the top of a recently cut-down tree.
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.
I spotted this young Peregrine Falcon flying around Veterans Park in East Norwalk a few weeks ago. It had a half-eaten prey (a crow, I think) in an open part of the park about 100 yards away, but kept circling around the parking lot where I was. It even has blood on its hooked bill. As many of you know, I’ve been photographing a few Peregrine Falcons along the Norwalk River where I work. (With limited success, admittedly.) This rare and close opportunity was certainly welcomed considering the distance from which I normally have to try to photograph them. Notice the brown plumage of this youngster, as opposed to the blue-gray of the adult.
I have some more photos of this beauty in flight that I will post later.