Bad Pictures of a Brilliant Moment


This evening birds rose in a cloud from the surface of Bolinas Lagoon and a Peregrine powered across the water with great purpose. I soon spotted the reason for its determined flight in the shape of a fleeing Marbled Godwit.


The falcon would turn in tighter circles that the Godwit and angle in to cut it off. It often seemed to be flying ahead of its prey.


No escape. Climbing offered no refuge from the relentless pursuit as the falcon easily rose with its target as they banked and swirled for nearly two minutes.


The Peregrine seemed to be closing in I thought the Godwit was doomed but on the next pass over deep water the Godwit landed quickly and floated on the water’s surface. The Peregrine immediately lost interest and flew on toward the distant shore.

5 responses

  1. That was amazing!

    May 13, 2012 at 5:38 am

  2. What a wonderful experience! Thanks! Z

    May 13, 2012 at 2:53 pm

  3. sandy slichter

    Whew! Thanks for the happy ending. I know peregrines have to eat too but let it be a pigeon.

    May 14, 2012 at 1:17 am

    • Peregrines, and other predators, do their part in weeding out weak birds and can actually contribute to supporting the general health of a prey species. Pigeon or Bufflehead, if it gets caught by a PEFA, it was meant to get caught. On the other hand, if the predators were an introduced species, that would be cause for some concern. I try not to value one species too highly over another. They are all spectacular to me.

      May 14, 2012 at 2:13 am

  4. Really interesting that landing on the water saved its butt.

    May 14, 2012 at 9:22 am

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