Gizmo is a wickedly adorable juvenile Peregrine Falcon. He is currently visiting LBI all the way from Greenland, proving once again that LBI is the greatest and most important place in the entire world.
While Gizmo naps, we get a very, very rare opportunity to check out the details of his finely crafted little face. First of all, check out those outer eyelids. While they are not the important ones, they sure are cool looking. The important ones are the other ones we can’t see called the Nictitating Membrane: they are clear eyelids that close laterally and allow Gizmo to protect his eyes while flying. This is especially important for Gizmo as PEFA are the world’s fastest animal and clock flight at over 240MPH.
Moving onto things we can see, check out his Tomial Tooth. It is the notched tooth on his beak. PEFA use those Tomial Teeth to sever the spine of the Regular Burds that they murder regularly. While it is easy to assume that a PEFA does its murder business using its Freddy Kruger (TM) like talons, that is way too undignified for a Peregrine. They snap the spine of their victims with the Tomial Tooth. Merciful.
Lastly, check out the tiny dot in the center of Gizmo’s nostril. That’s his Tubercle. That tiny cone shaped innovation is what allows a PEFA to dive through the air at 240 MPH without its lungs and brains exploding. It diverts the air appropriately. In fact, it is also the secret of the Jet Engine, and we completely and totally stole the idea from the PEFA.
This is Big Momma… a local adult PEFA who rules the Beach Haven Inlet Water Tower and like any good local, is wise and compassionate enough to tolerate little Gizmo’s touristy, seasonal presence. She’s doing her best airplane pose to demonstrate her design superiority over our best aircraft. Because we didn’t just steal the idea of the Tubercle from the PEFA. We stole all kinds of design ideas for our high speed aircraft from them, and we continue to do so to this day.
I often wonder when the F-16s (the “F” is Falcon) from
McGuire Air Force Base 177th Fighter Interceptor Group at Atlantic City International Airport do their exercises over Holgate if the PEFA are annoyed, looking up and wondering what might-have-been. As I understand it, way back when, a consortium of Military & Aviation experts visited a Peregrine to learn its secrets. The PEFA said “OK, but first… I’ll need a pigeon.” They agreed. But being clever and crafty and adorable as all PEFA are, he corrected himself: “Make that two pigeons.”
To this day, as I understand it, the PEFA are still mad at him, and all Peregrine Falcons are raised to understand that if you are approached by the Military-Industrial-Complex for any reason whatsoever, the very, very first thing you should do is ask for three pigeons.
Bonus Late-Breaking Update:
Long time Reader and exceptional photographer and Plover-Lover Wayne E. Morley, LtCol, New Jersey ANG, Retired took me to Military School for a glaring error in this post:
Oh, you have really failed the Armed Forces test—and two days before Veterans’ Day. OUCH—that really hurts. The 177th Fighter Interceptor Group, flying the F-16 Falcon is based at Atlantic City International Airport, NOT McGuire AFB:-) The 177th FIG group also maintains the Bomb Range on Rte 539 and is one of the two flying units (the other is the 108th Air Refuleling Wing that flies the KC-135’ tankers that make up the New Jersey Air National Guard).
Thanks Wayne, and Happy Veterans’ Day. And shame on you other Air Force Readers (I know of at least one) who missed that.