Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Peregrine Falcon

If you look closely at this photo you can see a baffle in this Peregrine Falcon’s nostril. Such baffles are almost unique to the falcons. Conventional wisdom is that these baffles regulate airflow, which would be handy if you dove at speeds up to 200 mph.  Other hypotheses are that the baffles measure air speed or in some way help with the sense of smell.  Curiously hawks, which also dive, lack these baffles. The dark sides of this bird’s head are typical of western Peregrines. Eastern birds tend to have much thinner facial markings. This difference, however, has become muddled as birds have been reintroduced in the East or the West without regard to where they originated. Erika and I photographed this Peregrine Falcon at the Billy Frank Jr Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge on 1 December 2020.

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