Owls, hawks, falcons, and eagles are just a few of the birds of prey that live in California. California has just four species of falcons. In this article, we’ll look at these Raptors and learn a few things about them, such as where and when you can find them, what they look like, and a few interesting facts about each.
4 SPECIES OF FALCONS IN CALIFORNIA
The American Kestrel, Merlin, Peregrine Falcon, and Prairie Falcon are the four falcon species found in California.
1. AMERICAN KESTREL
Length: 8.7-12.2 in
Weight: 2.8-5.8 oz
Wingspan: 20.1-24.0 in
Although the American Kestrel is the smallest falcon in North America, it is a powerful hunter. Kestrels, like Northern Flickers, are powerful predators that can kill larger birds. Insects and invertebrates are the main sources of food for these animals, however they also consume tiny mammals and birds. Kestrels live throughout California year-round, however some may migrate north to breed if they live farther south.
The males with their blue wings and brown markings are particularly distinctive, as are these tiny falcons with their small heads and beaks. These birds are attractive birds with black vertical stripes on their heads. Both male and female of this species have it. While they’re most active while driving, look for them on fence posts and telephone wires in the summer, particularly in rural or rural areas.
Length: 9.4-11.8 in
Weight: 5.6-8.5 oz
Wingspan: 20.9-26.8 in
In California, there are several falcons, including Merlins. They are migratory birds that migrate north to Canada to breed each year. They can be found across the state during the winter and non-breeding seasons. They are known for hunting in pairs, allowing them to be very successful hunters, and their primary food source is other birds. The females are larger than the males, much as with kestrels, and merlins are somewhat bigger than kestrels.
Merlin are a common raptor found across North America and can be found in a variety of habitats. Their population was declining in the early twentieth century, but has rebounded to a low concern level since then. Since Merlins are mostly active stalkign Sparrows and other small birds, they’re tough to see. They’re perched high in the treetops, pondering their next meal, while they’re not in flight. In open grasslands, keep an eye out in the woods’ edges and low perches.
3. PEREGRINE FALCON
Length: 14.2-19.3 in
Weight: 18.7-56.4 oz
Wingspan: 39.4-43.3 in
Throughout California, Peregrine Falcons may be seen. They’re most often seen in the winter, but near the shore, they may be seen all year. Every year, several Peregrines journey to Canada’s and even Greenland’s northernmost areas to breed. Due to pesticides, their population was almost wiped out in the mid-twentieth century, but they have since recovered and are now frequently seen in the wild.
When peregrines are diving for prey, they are not only the quickest bird on the planet, but also the quickest animal. Up to 240 miles per hour has been reported. The Great Smoky Mountains, Yellowstone, Acadia, Rocky Mountain, and Zion are just a few of the National Parks where they may be seen. Peregrine Falcons are currently present in the United States in numbers of 23,000.
4. PRAIRIE FALCON
Length: 14.6-18.5 in
Weight: 14.8-38.8 oz
Wingspan: 35.4-44.5 in
Prairie Falcons like wide open areas, such as grasslands and fields, where they may fly high overhead in search of their next meal, which is normally little animals or other birds. California and the western United States are home to these species.
Prairie Falcons are another favorite falconry and hunting bird, like Peregrines. Look for them perched on fence posts or on cliffs, soaring overhead with a pair of binoculars. Their brown tones make them difficult to see at times, especially when they’re camouflaged. A Merlin is bigger than a Prairie Falcon, but a Peregrine Falcon is slightly smaller.