Caught In The Act: Peregrine Falcon LBI Menu Audit

A Bald Eagle and a Peregrine Falcon in the same frame on LBI yesterday. This Raptor season is totally out-of-control.
A Bald Eagle and a baby Peregrine Falcon in the same frame on LBI yesterday. This Raptor Season is, officially, totally out-of-control. Time to check in and make sure this situation is under control.
It's a dream-come-true to have the whole Island teeming with Raptors, but in the huge crowds we might have a small number of poorly-behaved bird manglers who don't follow the rules; specifically, the rule that Raptors are welcome here as long as they eat "regular" birds, and not shorebirds.
It’s truly a dream-come-true to have the whole Island teeming with Raptors this Fall, but in the huge crowds I’m concerned we might have a small number of poorly-behaved bird manglers who aren’t following the LBI ground rules; specifically, the rule that states that Raptors are welcome here as long as they eat only “regular” birds, and not shorebirds.
We still have adorbz 'lil Piping Plover stopping by the Holgate Hotel en route to their Bahamian Winter Paradise, like these two yesterday. Time to do a quick audit of the Peregrine Falcon menu.
Remember, we still have totally adorbz,’lil Piping Plover stopping by the Holgate Hotel en route to their Bahamian Winter Paradise, like these two seen yesterday. Time to do a quick audit of the Peregrine Falcon menu, starting with those PEFA suspiciously hunting in the surf.
Every once and a while you'll see a Peregrine Falcon hunting over the open Ocean. We don't like to see that because how many "regular" birds are you going to find out there? Pardon the "craptor" (crappy photo of Raptor) but yesterday I zoomed way in on a Peregrine hunting out at sea, just to be sure it was playing by the rules. That's a good Peregrine. Who would've though Peregrines would be hunting Woodpeckers in the LBI surf?
Lately I’ve been seeing some of the young PEFAs hunting over the open Ocean, which is suspicious. How many “regular” birds are you going to find out there? And curiously, the formal Peregrine hunting methods are not well-suited to hunting over the open Ocean. Pardon the “craptor” (crappy photo of Raptor), but yesterday I zoomed way in on a Peregrine hunting out at sea, just to be sure she was playing by the rules. Surprise! That’s a good PEFA! Who would’ve thought you could hunt Woodpeckers in the LBI surf? This photo was taken about 1 second before this unlucky Woodpecker was snatched. (2 points to you if you can correctly ID the menu item)
Unlike many Raptors, Peregrine Falcons don't kill their prey with their nasty Talons... they kill them with their tooth. The official Peregrine hunting method is to "punch" an unsuspecting bird in mid air, usually while diving at up to 240 MPH, knocking the bird to the ground.
Peregrine tries to get the Woodpecker feathers off her bloody Talons after her meal. Unlike most Raptors, and despite their terrifying sharpness, Peregrine Falcons don’t normally kill their prey with their gnarly Talons (unlike, say, an Osprey who loves to drive a Talon straight through the eyeball and into the brains of a Bluefish). The official Peregrine hunting method is to sucker-punch an unsuspecting bird in mid air, usually while diving straight at it at up to 240 MPH, and knocking the stunned bird to the ground.
This unbelievably cooperative, Woodpecker nomming PEFA shows off her "tooth". Unlike other Raptors, Falcons are equipped with a wicked deadly tooth on their beak. They use this tooth to sever the spine of their stunned prey.
“Duz YOU have toof???!” This unbelievably cooperative, Woodpecker-nom-nomming PEFA shows off her “tooth”. Unlike other Raptors, Falcons come specially equipped with a wicked deadly, and equally terrifying, “tooth” on their beak. They use this tooth to sever the spine of their stunned prey after they knock it to the ground.
peregrine-falcon-sever-spine
But the whole punch-n-sever hunting technique would not seem to work so well over the open Ocean. Everyone knows Peregrine Falcons are too busy to afford their kids swimming lessons. Again, pardon the Craptor, but it was both disgusting and interesting to see this Peregrine, unwilling to punch this regular bird into the Sea, instead grab the bird mid-air with its Talons, then perform the tooth-severing maneuver mid-air over the open Ocean.
That's A Good Girl!
What A Good Girl! So with that,I’m pleased to announce our Raptors have passed the 2014 Audit and appear to be playing-by-the-rules; for now anyway. We can thank this sweet, and extremely cooperative Juvenile Peregrine for her assistance. And please note, only one Woodpecker was harmed in the making of this Reading.