Saturday, March 21, 2009

peregrine falcon chases starlings at Sonoma County dairy

This photo was taken by me in February, 2009. When I first drove down Guglielmeti Road, I saw a lot of starlings acting very nervous on the ground amidst a herd of dairy cows. But the starlings did not want to fly. I knew a falcon was about. I drove to the end of the road and turned around, and when I got back to the herd the starlings were aloft, but still very low, and they were balling up in defensive posture. Many small birds form bird clouds when under threat of predation by a falcon, which means that the chance of any individual bird being taken by the predator are small. In this case, the peregrine did not capture any prey and flew off in search of better hunting at a different location.

Coincidentally, my photo is similar to an award-winning photo of a peregrine going after a huge flock of starlings in Rome, Italy. That photo became publicized internationally, and can be seen online at:

Stan Moore

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