Gewone en buitengewone waarnemingen aan jagende Slechtvalken Falco peregrinus in Nederland en Canada
De Takkeling , Volume 25 - Issue 2 p. 165- 175
This anecdotal narrative describes the hunting behaviour of Peregrine, based on 53 years of field studies in various habitats and all seasons. Peregrines were very rarely seen to strike their prey in mid-air in such a way that it plunged to earth, dead or wounded. When falcons attacked ducks flying over water, it might look, though, as if an aerial hit had occurred, because ducks routinely evaded the attack by splashing down. Ducks flying over land, sitting on land or in water too shallow to dive, were seized and killed, including a Gadwall Anas strepera that was almost completely submerged when plucked. Foraging or roosting sandpipers that were flushed at close range by Peregrines also evaded the attack by dropping down and taking off again at once into an opposite direction as soon as the falcon had passed by. Sandpipers that dropped and stayed down might have been hit and were quickly retrieved by adult falcons, but first-year falcons repeatedly tried in vain. Swooping alternately, two or more juvenile falcons were joined by an adult which at once picked up the sandpiper downed by the juveniles. An adult male dived up to his chest into a pool of meltwater to retrieve a Dowitcher Limnodromus griseus that had splashed down at the falcon's attack and submerged, possibly holding onto the grass on the bottom of the pool. A breeding adult male Peregrine picked up a duckling from a family group swimming with a mother duck. Elsewhere, an adult male snapped up juvenile cliff swallows that launched their first flight below the falcon's perch. On Langara Island, off the northwest coast of Canada, territorial Peregrines attacked swimming auklets and murrelets Alcidae by striking them on the surface of the water. The falcon then attempted to retrieve the wounded prey. After three or more failed tries, approaching Bald Eagles Haliaeetus leucocephalus snatched up the wounded prey without stopping. Wintering Peregrines that hunted ducks on Vancouver Island were daily parasitized by eagles, and in Alberta a migrating male Peregrine was robbed of two teal by Buteo hawks within 20 minutes. Peregrines parasitized just-caught prey from Sparrowhawks Accipiter nisus, Merlins Falco columbarius and Hen Harriers Circus cyaneus. Migrating or wintering Peregrines that had caught ducks consumed only part of the neck and the breast muscle, and left the remains of the carcass in the field, thus benefitting opportunistic scavengers and other raptors.
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