Prairie Falcon

photo by Frank D. Lospalluto CC BY-NC-ND

Prairie Falcons can be seen flying low over western deserts and grasslands from southern British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba south to California, Arizona, and New Mexico. They nest on ledges or crevices of cliffs and avoid forested areas and coasts.

Prairie Falcons are large (15-18 in, 35-45 in wingspan) with a light-brown upper body and a cream-colored chest streaked with brown. There are brown vertical streaks below their eyes and dark-colored patches at the base of each wing on the underside.

In summer, Prairie Falcons catch small animals, such as Richardson's Ground Squirrels, but in winter they prey on small birds, such as Horned Larks and Western Meadowlarks.

Could it be? Peregrine Falcons are a similar size but darker and don't have dark patches under their wings. Kestrels and Merlins are both much smaller.

Did you know? During courtship, the male and female spend a month or more visiting potential nest sites together.

See Also: Bald Eagle, Golden Eagle, Kestrel, Merlin, Osprey, Peregrine Falcon, Red-tailed Hawk, Sharp-shinned Hawk, Swainson's Hawk