Peregrines in Port Chester

28 02 2010

Peregrine Falcon - Catherine Hamilton

Port Chester doesn’t strike one as a birding Mecca, however I pretty much always have my eyes open and my binoculars secreted on me somewhere when I am out and about, as one never knows what you might run into. With a little time to kill on the way to the train station I decided it might be worth having a little scan through the gulls that tend to congregate on the ice/water around the mall in Port Chester. With the ice pretty much all gone, so it seems were the gulls, and it seemed like there wasn’t going to be much to amuse us while we waited for the train. That however all changed with the arrival of the pair of falcons below.

Whilst we were about to scan for the non-existent gulls, Catherine spotted a  falcon alight atop the Loews Cinema (the rather small male) followed by a second much larger bird.  It was amazing to see the amazing sexual dimorphism in size in the birds with the female obviously much larger (they can be as much as a third the size again as males and weigh more than double). Perhaps this was the reason that the male was just waiting for scraps from the females plate as she snacked on a freshly dispatched Rock Pigeon. This certainly looked like a pair so perhaps the mall in Port Chester or some building nearby might find itself home to a breeding attempt. As with the Pigeons, the Peregrines seem to be right at home in cities where they find the ledges of skyscrapers a perfect simile for their natural clifftop home.

For me it’s always a joy to see Peregrines here in the east. Where once they were extirpated, they are now thriving. A conservation success story in action, which are so very few and far between. It does though give one confidence that where there is a will, that we can actually do something positive for species on the brink of disaster. It’s just a shame with Peregrines that we essentially had to lose the eastern population before anything was done about it.

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