Soaring gently above a flock of pigeons, you see a bird, like a small hawk, but sleeker. Suddenly, the bird folds its long pointed wings and dives with remarkable speed and agility, approaching speeds of 200 mph it heads straight for the moving flock of pigeons. Moments later, in an explosion of glistening grey feathers it grabs its prey from midair. With its meal grasped firmly in its powerful feet, the bird rises again, finds an out of the way ledge, and settles in for lunch. You might think that a scene like this could only unfold in a remote corner of the globe, far away from the impacts of human populations, but, you would be wrong, the world’s fastest bird lives right here in Lawrence.
The Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus), is perfectly designed for power, agility, and most of all, speed. Nostrils with a unique central cone much like a fighter jet’s engine keep the bird breathing, and their eyes, with five times as many visual receptors as our own, and an extra set of clear eye lids, are able to lock on to a moving target at speeds of nearly 200 mph. Just a few decades ago this incredible animal was dangerously close to extinction, but, thanks to conservation efforts has made a remarkable recovery. For the past several years, a pair of falcons has nested in the New Balance Clock Tower here in South Lawrence.
On April 7th join Groundwork Lawrence, The Essex County Greenbelt , and local birder/photographer Craig Gibson as we observe, and learn about the Lawrence's Peregrine Falcons, and other amazing birds, brightly colored Yellow-Rumped Warblers, to huge flocks of migrating blackbirds!
Be sure to come out next Sunday April 7th from 1 - 3 pm. We will meet in the large parking lot by Groundwork's office at by the Union Crossing apartments. Don't forget to bring binoculars if you have them. See you there!