Falcons are small birds of prey with a reputation for speed and aggression. They’re a magnificent sight, and seeing one in the wild is a thrilling experience. Moreover, unlike other birds of prey, falcons have a better ability to adapt to human presence, so you may not have to go far to find one. The falcon species found in Pennsylvania will be discussed in this article, as well as how they live.
3 SPECIES OF FALCONS IN PENNSYLVANIA
The American Kestrel, Merlin, and Peregrine falcons are the three types of falcons that may be found in Pennsylvania.
1. AMERICAN KESTREL
Scientific name: Falco sparverius
Length: 8.7-12.2 in
Weight: 2.8-5.8 oz
Wingspan: 20.1-24.0 in
Kestrels are year-round residents in much of their range. Kestrels may be found in all parts of Pennsylvania throughout the year, including during winter. Kestrels prefer to live in metropolitan and suburban regions since they are drawn to locations with few trees and short vegetation on the ground.
Kestrels, which hunt grasshoppers, lizards, and mice, can frequently be seen perched on telephone wires and other elevated places around town. They may occasionally fly while hovering by facing the wind. In Pennsylvania and North America, kestrels are the tiniest falcons. This implies they are on the main menu for bigger birds of prey, which is correct.
Scientific name: Falco columbarius
Length: 9.4-11.8 in
Weight: 5.6-8.5 oz
Wingspan: 20.9-26.8 in
As they travel to their breeding habitats in Canada or wintering habitats along the Atlantic Coast, merlins are most commonly sighted in Pennsylvania. Nonetheless, in the state’s southeast corner, there are merlins who spend their winters. They may not be particularly common, as they are right on the edge of their wintering range, but you can find them.
Because merlins are usually found high in the tree tops observing for prey or racing after songbirds at breakneck speed, it can be challenging to spot them. In the air, merlins are quick and strong. Seeing one before it flies out of sight can be a challenge because they don’t spend much time soaring or cruising. Look for them in homes with a high population of house sparrows in suburban regions. A merlin is likely to have ambushed a flock of sparrows if they all take flight at the same instant.
3. PEREGRINE FALCON
Scientific name: Falco peregrinus
Length: 14.2-19.3 in
Weight: 18.7-56.4 oz
Wingspan: 39.4-43.3 in
While migrating through Pennsylvania, Peregrine Falcons are most often seen, although there are resident populations in the state’s southeast corner and along the Ohio River. These may be found near cliff edges or skyscrapers in open places. They like to hunt near water, especially rivers and lakes. They are also fond of metropolitan landscapes, despite the fact that they prefer hunting in the country. Waterfowl and shorebirds are common targets for city peregrines in wild areas, but pigeons have become a favorite prey.
Because they’ve adapted to urban settings better than other birds of prey, peregrines are frequently seen in big cities. Skyscraper window ledges are a popular spot for building nests. A peregrine falcon is likely to be observing a flock of pigeons if there are any nearby.