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Vocabulary

  • Stoop – the aerodynamic hunting dive of the Peregrine Falcon.
  • Nictitating membrane – a membrane that closes over the eye which a bird can see through but it keeps the eye clean.

Fun Facts

  • Peregrine falcons are one of the world’s fastest birds, capable of reaching speeds of 200+ mph during a stoop.
  • The name peregrine comes from the latin word peregrinus, meaning “to wander.”
  • Peregrines are found on all continents with the exception of Antarctica.
  • Peregrines aim not to catch their prey but to take it out with a direct strike and catch it as it falls. If it is too heavy, they will eat it where it lands.

The Stoop

The Peregrine Falcon has many adaptations (listed below) that give it the ability to execute this spectacular dive while hunting. By the end of a stoop, they can reach G-forces up to 25 G’s!

  • Their wings are narrow and able to be folded in tight to their body.
  • Their whole body is bullet shaped for speed.
  • Their eyes have nictitating membranes (see above) and they can track prey a mile away.
  • They have a secretory gland that keeps fluid in their eyes to prevent them from drying out.
  • Their internal anatomy is also built for speed, with a large keel allowing for larger chest muscles.
  • Their heart beats at a rate of 600-900 beats per minute, which allows for more blood flow and oxygenation.
  • There is a circular cone in the nostril called the tubercle that keeps the air from flowing into the lungs.

All Programs, In the Air
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