Feisty Falcons

by | Dec 1, 2021 | 0 comments

Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine Falcon. Photo © Brian Kushner/Dreamstime.com.

Fingers of sunlight crawled into the sky before an orange ball peeped from behind the horizon. Soon a dazzling array of pinks, lavenders, and other delicate pastels spread across the sky. The river continued its lazy journey, passing village, forest, and mountain where grasses glittered with dew, birds cheeped, and villages bustled to life once more. Beside the river, on a narrow strip of land, ran a railroad track where trains rarely traveled.

In a tiny corner of this wakening hemisphere lived Mr. and Mrs. Peregrine Falcon in a borrowed nest on a cliff called Stony Ledge. Far below, the river wound its way on its journey to the Atlantic. Mr. Falcon peered from his cozy feathers and squawked, “Witchew, witchew.”

Mrs. Falcon lifted her head and chirped to her four babies. They squeaked in return, a sure sign of their little hungry tummies begging for breakfast.

“Witchew,” Mr. Falcon called as he sailed out and away to begin the search for breakfast. His wary eye also kept a sharp lookout for danger while he circled about in search for food. After searching for some time, he suddenly slowed and listened.

There it was again. “Jay, jay, jay,” a Blue Jay screamed.

Mr. Falcon’s beady eyes watched as a Blue Jay sailed around the bend, squawking bossily. It flapped along, seemingly unaware of the danger nearby. But Mr. Falcon knew what he was doing. He plummeted down on the Blue Jay at an alarming rate. The Blue Jay franticly tried to escape, but Mr. Falcon struck him forcefully. Mr. Blue Jay dropped to the ground, and Mr. Falcon dove after him. The Blue Jay flapped his wings feebly, but Mr. Falcon skillfully stopped his attempts and carried the bird back to his ravenous family.

After they had completed their meal, Mr. Falcon flew up to his perch to guard his family. At that moment, a dark monster rumbled down below.

“Cuck, cuck, cuck,” Mr. Falcon shrieked as he dove at the intruder.

The ominous object was growing more enormous and frightening by the second, but it meant no harm. Mr. Falcon veered off. He watched until the train clickety-clacked around a distant bend. Mrs. Falcon greeted Mr. Falcon, whose assuring squawks calmed her fearful screams.

The baby falcons were hungry again! Mr. Falcon tirelessly circled the earth and eventually swooped upon an unsuspecting chipmunk, but this only seemed to increase their hunger pangs.

Mr. Falcon continued his quest for food. After circling far above the earth once more, he spotted a group of ducks. They were larger than he, but this didn’t seem to dampen his courage. He fearlessly glided in their direction.

The birds, sensing the danger, did all they could to avoid separation, but Mr. Falcon knew what he was doing. He skillfully separated a duck from the flock through repeated attacks at the flock. Diving again, he hit the duck at 200 mph (320 km/h), knocking it to the ground. Mr. Falcon grasped him with his talons and used his sharp hooked beak to
break its neck.

Mr. Falcon flapped homeward. He proudly presented his prize to the famished falcon clan. No need to hunt for more of a supper. That duck was feast enough to fill all their growling stomachs!

The sky flamed crimson, and silver-tinted clouds flecked the sky. The horizon swallowed the sun, whose rays, like fingers, waved good-night. Then they, too, slipped behind the horizon. The stars peeked out, and a full moon illuminated the darkened sky. The nest fell silent as the contented falcons snuggled together and drifted off into a peaceful slumber.

Peregrine Falcon with captured Mallard
Peregrine Falcon. Photo © Steven Oehlenschlager/Dreamstime.com.

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