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Peregrine falcons (yearlings)        Images © Mark A. Chappell

Peregrines are probably the fastest of all animals under their own power and have captured the imagination of people for thousands of years.   Adults (on this page) are dark slate-blue above and barred below.   Juveniles are brownish above and streaked below; these falcons are all yearlings, molting from juvenile into adult plumage.   Peregrines of all ages have a characteristic stiff, powerful flight.
      The female eating the mew gull was on Bolsa Chica State Beach in Orange County, California.   She was exceptionally tolerant; I was able to approach within 10 meters and photographed her for 40 minutes until she polished off the gull.   She then flew a half-mile to some dead trees, where she sat and digested for several hours.   Another page shows a second-year female with a white-faced ibis; more photos are here.
      Immediately below are images of a partially molted yearling in southern California; other images show her several months later, nearly finished with her molt.   The bird sitting on a rusty pipe is a 'tundra' peregrine, of the small, relatively pale Arctic-breeding race, photographed in Barrow, Alaska.   Both birds are showing some of their first blue-gray adult feathers on the back but are mostly in worn juvenile plumage.
      Confession:   all of these (with the exception of the 'portrait') were wild birds but a few were banded, and I digitally removed the bands.

  • Canon 1D Mk II or 1D IV; 500 mm IS lens or 800 mm IS lens, most with 1.4X or 2X converter, some with fill-in flash (2005, 2008, 2011, 2012)