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Peregrine falcon (with cinnamon teal)        Images © Mark A. Chappell

The peregrine in these images spent most of 2013 at a wildlife area near Riverside, California.   For much of that time she was molting from juvenile to adult plumage (these photos, from early October, reveal only a few brown juvenile feathers on the bird's back).   For some reason, this falcon (a female, judging from large size and heavy barring underneath) was quite tolerant of people.   This page shows her killing and eating a female cinnamon teal; she was also fond of snowy egrets, white-faced ibis, and coots).
       Falcons have a 'notched' bill that is used to quickly kill prey by dislocating the neck vertebrae.   I think this bird had already done that to the teal by the time she arrived with it on top of a power pole, but she immediately went for the neck again (first few pictures).   The head was quickly discarded, as were the intestines and other viscera, but she ate nearly all of the muscle tissue and left only the feet, head, wings, and skeleton.
       Other photos of these spectacular raptors are here, here and here; photos of perched adults are here and perched juveniles are on this page.   Even more images are here.

  • Canon 1D4, 800 mm IS lens, some with 1.4X extender; fill-in flash (2013)