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Second City Warehouse ADMIN March 11, 2008
MAPPING YOUR PHOTOS WILL MAKE YOU ... cooler, smarter, more attractive, a better person, richer, sophisticated, a MacGyveresque gadget genius, abnormally lucky, a celebrated novelist, a superhero of extraordinary power, less attractive to wasps, strong like that guy who can pull trains around with his teeth, mind-numblingly content, less likely to contract shingles, a black belt in at least six types of martial arts and immortal. I'm just sayin'.

Group Description

Midwest Peregrine Falcons. Get yours at bighugelabs.com/flickr

This group is designed to share photos of wild Peregrine Falcons living in midwestern North America.

Who I am: My name is Stephanie Ware and I am a research assistant at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, IL. I am on a team that monitors the Peregrine Falcon populations in Illinois. You can read more about the team and what we do HERE.

Identification: Peregrine Falcons are about the size of an American Crow, with slim builds and long, thin wings. Males and females look nearly identical, though females tend to be larger.

Adult peregrines have dark grayish backs and white or light breasts with speckling or barring. The peregrine's most distinctive feature is the dark cap of feathers on its head and neck with u-shaped sideburns on either side of the face. The peregrine's feet, legs, eyerings and most of its beak are a very intense yellow. The eyes are dark brown to black. Juveniles appear far more brown in color with more intense speckles or bars on the breast. As well, the juveniles feet, legs, eyerings and beak are a paler yellow.

Pictured below: Adult (left) -- Juvenile (right)

Pilsen Adult Male MCC Fledgling 1

The bird most often mistaken for a peregrine is a Cooper's Hawk. They are very similar in size and both use birds as a primary prey source. The most distinctive difference, at least in my opinion, is the eye color. Cooper's Hawks have a very intense red-orange iris, more yellowish in immature birds, where peregrine's have a very dark-brown iris. Cooper's Hawks will also perch near backyard bird feeders looking for prey. Peregrines favor high spots and will very rarely be seen perching that low to the ground. So, if it's in your backyard, it's probably a beautiful Cooper's Hawk!

Leg Bands: Most peregrines in the midwest will have legbands on both legs. One legband, generally on the right leg, is a US Fish and Wildlife band and unless you are very, very close to the bird or have it in the hand you will likely not be able to read that band. The other band, generally on the left leg, has much bigger numbers. Midwestern US birds will have black and green or black and red bands and midwestern Canada birds will have solid black bands.

2012 Pilsen Peregrine Male's Legbands 2012 Uptown Peregrine Female's Legbands

If you are lucky, your photograph will be clear enough that the two letters and/or numbers can be read. As you can see in the pictures above, one or both of the numbers or letters may be laying on their side.

If you are able to get these numbers in your photo, please contact me through Flickr mail to let me know that your photo has band information. This band information is critical to the tracking of these birds and all sightings are recorded in database.

Even if both numbers or letters in your photo are not clear, we still record a sighting of a banded or unbanded bird even if we can't get the individual identification, so please do not throw your "bad" shots out.

And, of course, post any pictures of wild peregrines here with or without bands. We try to follow up on all sightings and spend considerable time checking out the locations given to us by group members.

Rules: Because this is a pretty specialized group, unfortunately, there are rules. Please try to follow them so that we can maintain the integrity of the pool.

1. Only post pictures of Peregrine Falcons. If a misidentified bird is posted, the administrator reserves the right to delete the picture from the pool (and hopefully help the poster correctly identify their raptor!)

2. Only post pictures of wild Peregrine Falcons (please no zoo, falconry pictures, etc...).

3. Only post pictures that were taken in the following US/Canada locations: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Manitoba and Ontario.

4. Please make sure that the correct date and location is noted somewhere. If we get a positive ID from the legbands, we need to log the date and time and we want that information to be as accurate as possible. Feel absolutely free to post older pictures, just make sure you give the date!

INFORMATION FOR THE CHICAGO AREA ONLY: If you find a peregrine on the ground, Mary Hennen has put up some emergency contact numbers for the Chicago region. You can find some good information and the numbers HERE.

For those of you not from the Chicago region, the information on what to do when you find a downed peregrine is still valuable, even if the numbers are not. It is highly probable your own area has monitors. My suggestion would be to try wildlife rescue organizations or rehabbers, Animal Control and/or any zoo or natural history museum type place in the area.

Additional Info

  • Accepted content types: Photos, Videos, Images, Screenshots
  • Accepted safety levels: Safe
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