Take Off – Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)   13 comments

Take Off  - Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)

I hail from the eastern state of Odisha in India. But inspite of my origin and my interest in birds, I had never been to a place called Manglajodi, a sleepy hamlet around one and half hours drive from my hometown. So last december, I finally made it there. Now, Manglajodi, is the back water area of Chilika Lake, which is the largest brackish water lake in Asia. This wetland attracts hundreds of thousands of the winged visitors every year.

I was aware of all the facts about Manglaojodi, but still nothing had prepared me for the magic that would unfold once you embark on the boat ride on the surrounding water body. One has to simply experience it. The sheer variety and quantity of birds simply leaves you with a desire to keep coming back over and over again.The boat was a traditional fishing boat that had to rowed or more aptly pushed with the help of long oars. The lack of motors in these boats ensures peace and quiet in this habitat and allows one to get very close to the birds. There are no tides and the water level is not deep, so the boating experience is pretty smooth but the avian beauties that flock to the area would simply take your breath away.

Amidst all the beauties, this Peregrine Falcon was indeed the highlight of my visit. Our guide spotted it rather early when all that was visible of this bird was a tiny frame of white and black. We approached it slowly with our zoom lens trained on that spot. The image started growing bigger and bigger and at last it was large enough to fill nearly 15-20% of the frame. What a beauty! We stopped the boat and happily clicked away. The bird was a confident and didn’t feel the need to fly away. Though it kept an eye on us while looking for its next meal. Peregrines feed on other birds and here birds were available in thousands. After a while we decide to risk moving in a bit closer and that’s when the bird decided that it was too close for comfort and took flight, leaving me with this wonderful memory.

Peregrine Falcons are the fastest creature on the planet and they have been known to clock 350 kmph with gravity assistance – thats nearly half the cruising speed of commercial jets ! It is a widespread bird of prey in the family Falconidae. It has a blue-grey back, barred white underparts, and a black head and distinguishing “moustache”. It is maybe the world’s most wide spread raptor and is found everywhere except maybe in the polar regions. The only other species that is more widespread than the Peregrines are the rock pigeons and they end up supporting the Peregrines as a prey species. The fastest creature on the planet is also a steadfast mate and they mate for life.

13 responses to “Take Off – Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)

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  1. Great catch Amit!

  2. Excellent pic and very informative writeup about the place and the “RAPTOR”

  3. Beautiful shot… perfect timing too….

    • This was a pretty confident bird and it allowed us to get quite close. And our guide and boatman were amazingly skilled as well. Thanks for the appreciation .

  4. very neat! it really did have its eye right at your camera lens!

    • Thanks. A little twist to its right and it could flown off with my camera. When it took off the acceleration was a pleasure to watch.

  5. Hi Amit, I just discovered this beautiful image and wanted to speak with you about possibly using it or a likeness of it in a local community project here in the States. I am not sure how to contact you though. Drop me an email if you would.

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