Monday, December 23, 2013

Predators! From The Skies!

a Peregrine Falcon helps keeps Uptown's pigeon population in check
(copyright: Jerry Goldner)
From a reader:
"Early on Saturday my wife witnessed a very large bird of prey (falcon? hawk? unsure) swoop into our backyard and kill a pigeon.

We wanted to give a heads up to pet owners to not leave their small pets unattended outside. There are also a few cats on Beacon and Dover, unsure if they belong to anyone but they are frequent visitors to our yards, and if they do belong to someone then they should be mindful that their pets may be in danger from this large predator."
We are a neighborhood with a lot of natural predators: coyotes, Coopers Hawks, snowy owls, and the Uptown Theatre peregrine falcons.

The reader's advice is something to remember: in nature, smaller animals are food for the larger ones. Be careful of your pets! Keep them indoors or on leashes, and don't tie them up outside.


  1. Too bad they can't pay a visit to the area under the Wilson Red Line train tracks.

  2. I had the surprise and pleasure of encountering a peregrine on our back deck a few days ago as I was taking our dogs out. It was kind of wet and ruffled from a near-miss trying to take down a sparrow or pigeon, and hit the slush instead. Beautiful bird! It had no interest in the dogs, and flew up to perch in a small tree in our back yard before it flew again to perch on the top of a telephone pole in the alley to preen itself.

    Pet owners don't have anything to worry about with the peregrines. The dive-bomb smaller birds like sparrows and pigeons, striking them in mid-air with their talons to stun them before eating them for dinner. Only rarely do peregrines eat small mammals like squirrels, rats, mice, and rabbits...most dogs and cats are far too large for them to tackle.

    This explains why I found several decapitated sparrows in our back yard this autumn...I just hope they ignore the neighborhood's cardinals!