Monday, April 26, 2010

FALCON FAMILY (Falconidae): Nobility (1)

Known for their courage and fierceness, Falcons are regarded highly by people. For many centuries, They have been a notable part of human culture. For example, in some religions, these Birds are representatives of the Gods or are their messengers. In addition, falconry is considered to be a noble sport by many.

The Falcon Family is usually divided into two groups (although many scientists disagree on how to classify particular falcons). The Falconiae consists of the “true” Falcons, that are the Gyrfalcon, Hobby, Kestrel, Merlin and Peregrine. These Falcons are usually known by what They hunt. The “Duck Hawk” is the Peregrine, “Pigeon” the Merlin, and “Sparrow” the Kestrel.

The “true” Falcons (Falco) are then roughly divided into four groups according to their size. The first group consists of the Kestrels (except for American Kestrel). With only small adjustments to the trim of their wings, Kestrels can hover whilst keeping their heads still. Because of their constant hovering, Kestrels are also known as “Windhovers” and “Standgales”.

The second grouping consists of the Hobbies, who are best known for their aerobatic flights. Hobbies soar, swoop, then gracefully climb to the sky, and finally dive executing an intricate series of loops. Flying fast, Hobbies will steal from Kestrels while in flight.

The third grouping is Peregrine Falcon and her relatives. These strong fliers feed on mid-sized Birds such as Ducks and Pigeons. Also, in this grouping are the Hierofalcons (the Lanner Falcon, Laggar, and Saker).

The last group consists only of Gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus), considered to be the largest and most majestic of the Falcons. This formidable hunter dominates the Arctic skies. Going long distances, He will fly low over open tundra scanning for Rabbits. From his ledge perch, Gyrfalcon will suddenly swoop down to snatch an unsuspecting Ptarmigan for a tasty meal.

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