|via National Geographic|
I specifically love the Peregrine falcon. That may be because DDT almost killed them all by the time I was born, so conservation efforts focused on the Peregrine for years afterward. I remember touring the Kennedy Space Center as a teen and the highlight of my visit was a Peregrine falcon sighting. Go figure!
The bird really is extraordinary. It dives up to 200 miles per hour, making it the fastest creature on earth. The name "Peregrine" comes from the wandering tendency of the bird and various subspecies are found on every continent, except for the polar regions. The agility of longwinged Peregrines is amazing, better than the higher ranked (by the Book of St. Albans) broadwing eagles. Exceptional vision also make it highly favored by falconers.
Falconry was once a noble pursuit in Europe, the Middle East and even Japan. In the UAE, the sport is an important part of national heritage. Conservation there has taken on epic proportion, with the country spending millions of dollars on breeding centers and falconry events. (I lived there for a while so I've even had a falcon on my arm...I must have a picture around here someplace...)
Symbolically, the falcon means good things:
- The sun. Egyptian sun god Ra is portrayed with the head of a falcon.
- Loyalty (It mates for life.)
This is a clip of an American farmer and his tame red-tailed hawk. Some of you may not appreciate watching a bird hunt down a rabbit, but I'm amazed by nature at work.