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Idaho State Raptor

peregrine falcon - click to see all state birds
Peregrine falcon photo © foghornleg90 on Flickr - noncommercial use permitted
with attribution / no derivative works. See All State Birds - National Bird

Peregrine Falcon

See peregrine falcon video below

The magnificent peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) was designated the official state raptor of Idaho in 2004 (the peregrine falcon is also featured on the state quarter shown below). Idaho recognizes two bird symbols (the mountain bluebird is the official state bird - see all state birds). The Peregrine Falcon became an endangered species due to the use of pesticides, but populations are recovering since the ban of DDT in the 1970's (supported by extensive protection of nesting places and releases to the wild), and it was removed from the Endangered Species List in 1999.

Peregrine Falcon Facts

The peregrine falcon reaches sexual maturity at one year and begins breeding at 2 to 3 years of age. The female is larger and more heavily marked. Peregrines mate for life (life span in the wild is up to 15.5 years). The courtship flight includes a mix of aerial acrobatics, precise spirals, and steep dives. The male passes captured prey to the female in mid-air (in order to do this, the female actually flies upside-down to receive the food from the male's talons).

The Peregrine Falcon has been called the fastest animal on the planet in its hunting dive (the stoop) - it soars to a great height and then dives steeply at speeds of up to 322 km/h (200 mph), hitting one wing of its prey to disable it and not harm the falcon itself on impact. The peregrine may be killed by other bird predators (large eagles and owls).

Peregrines feed almost exclusively on medium-sized birds, but they also occasionally hunt small mammals (including bats, rats, voles, hares, mice and squirrels). Peregrine Falcons live mostly along mountain ranges, river valleys, coastlines, and increasingly in cities.

Idaho state quarter - click to see all state quarters

Idaho's state quarter features the peregrine falcon, an outline of the state, and the state motto - public domain image on Wikipedia - see all 50 state quarters

The name "peregrine" means "wanderer," and the peregrine falcon has one of the longest migrations of any North American bird. Tundra-nesting falcons winter in South America, and may move 25,000 km (15,500 mi) in a year.

People have trained falcons for hunting for over a thousand years. Efforts to breed the Peregrine in captivity and reestablish populations depleted during the DDT years were greatly assisted by the existence of methods of handling captive falcons developed by falconers.

Source:
State Emblems: Idaho Secretary of State
Peregrine Falcon: Wikipedia.org
All About Birds - Peregrine Falcon: Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Links:
Facts About Idaho: VisitIdaho.org
Peregrine Falcon Web Cam
All State Birds - National Bird

    

 

 

Idaho Symbols & Icons:

bird - raptor
fish - insect
horse - fossil
stone - gem - soil
flower - tree
fruit - vegetable

flag - seal
motto - quarter
name origin
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song
folk dance
 

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