Can You Spot the Peregrine?

Stirring up the pigeons in Cleveland, 2017 (photo by Chad+Chris Saladin)

17 November 2023

Can you spot the peregrine?

When peregrines are hungry, the birds they’d like to eat flock tightly and move as fast as they can. The denser the flock the harder it is for the peregrine to pick out a solo bird to catch for dinner.

In the photo above pigeons are flying crosswise to avoid an oncoming peregrine. Can you spot the peregrine in the picture?

Dunlin (Calidris alpina) are masters of tight flocking and evasive maneuvers when threatened from the air. In the video below by Pacificnorthwestkate (@pnwkate) the dunlin move like a murmuration of starlings as a peregrine harasses them. Can you spot the peregrine?

embedded video by Pacificnorthwestkate on YouTube

Notice how the dunlin flock winks off and on in the video, dark at one moment then so white they disappear. In winter plumage dunlin have brown-gray backs and white bellies. The flock changes color as the birds turn in unison in the air.

Dunlin in winter plumage (photo from Wikimedia Common)

Last month I wrote about peregrines’ winter strategy for catching dunlin: Peregrines Are Just Tiring Them Out.

(credits are in the captions)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *