Something new in falcon behavior happened the other day, a day of watery but welcome sun, a time to sit outside and commune with sparrows and doves who were in mid-feed.
Swooping over the roof of the studio to my left, and flying low and powerfully towards the trees to my right, came two falcons close together, slicing through the air like a pair of hurtling boomerangs.
Under the tree branches they seemed to pull up in mid-air. A large flock of pigeons suddenly flared into flight, wings flapping loudly through the branches.
And then, just as quickly back towards me, came one falcon, hurtling low. As it passed me it was rising to clear the studio roof.
That’s when I saw it, held close by both talons, a pigeon. Quite lifeless.
The falcon flew over the house and disappeared. Its hunting partner had stayed in the trees. Somewhere.
It was another extraordinary display of power and speed.
[NOTES: I read somewhere recently that the Peregrine Falcon is indeed the fastest of birds; that in diving after its prey it can reach speeds from 200 to 250 miles per hour.
A friend who works in a highrise office building in downtown Manhattan tells me that there is a falcon nest on the roof; she has seen falcons plunge in flight straight down towards the ground, past her window –presumably in pursuit of prey.]