Prairie Falcon
This bird is native to the canyons and ridges of the western US, and is not a traditional bird used for falconry as it is not native to Europe or Asia. The Prairie Falcon nests in cliffs and cliff ledges. Some falconers have noted a more Accipiter-like behavior to the Prairie, which many who like to fly falcons tend to steer away from. These are seen as more emotional birds by some than many of the other falcons.

Plumage
The Prairie falcon has the sandy tan and brown colorings of the landscape from which it comes. It is very similar to the Peregrine in size, although tends to be smaller, shape, and the mask markings, or mustache, however it is in brown tones while the Peregrine has the distinct blue-gray. One distinguishing mark here is the dark triangular patch underneath each wing.

           Prairie Falcon image A mature Prairie Falcon. Cody is owned and flown in the US Air Force Academy program.
Hunting
Typical quarry caught with the Prairie are small and medium sized birds such as waterfowl, grouse, pheasants, ducks, huns, quail, and small mammals. A tiercel Prairie Falcon is excellent on doves. This bird is highly adaptable in its hunting style and a very opportunistic hunter eating mammals and birds about equally. In the wild it tends to hunt blackbirds, horned larks, doves, quail, pigeon, and will also take gophers, ground squirrels, rats, and insects, particularly grasshoppers. Her hunting style tends to be a long straight line descent at a low angle.

Trivia
The Prairie Falcon is a very versatile hunter applying whichever hunting method will succeed. They prefer nesting on cliff ledges facing south or south-east overlooking arid or semi-arid country. A cliff marked with blow flies and whitewash is a sure sign that it is a Prairie eyrie.
This bird is nicknamed the American Lanner Falcon.
The Prairie Falcon tends not to migrate.


All images and text Copyright © 2004 - 2017 - Lydia Ash