Friday, January 05, 2007

Peregrine Sighting

Well, it happened again. I was out for one of the three or four daily walks my dog and I take, on one of two customary routes. We live in a thoroughly suburban area, nothing wild or undeveloped about it at all. So seeing wildlife magnificent and free is a rare occurrence. But once again, I encountered the peregrine.

This time, as dog and I strolled down the neighborhood street, dog, as usual, stopped to pee. She has a favorite spot and other dogs must constantly cover it over with their own scent. So she is always trying to reassert her primacy. Anyway, as she stopped, I patiently waited. And glanced around. There on the tree right next to me, on a low branch, sat a bedraggled peregrine. Since it is raining today, the peregrine's feather were a little soggy looking. But I was transfixed. Ten feet from a peregrine. Close enough to have a conversation!

I stood looking, hoping my dog wouldn't shake or scuff too much when she was finished. I breathed out slowly, saying under my breath--oooo, who are you? Since Harrisburg is home to a peregrine breeding spot, high atop the Rachel Carson building (!) that houses our state Department of Environmental Protection (!!), the nesting pair are frequently seen in the general area. And since last year they had 5 nestlings, with two still surviving, the one I saw may be part of the nesting pair or one of its offspring.

I kept standing there very still. The peregrine, which really did look young, had a smallish bird in its talons--lunch. And after a pause, it went back to eating. I kept thinking--damn, why don't I carry my camera with me a-l-l-l-l-l the time? Of course, I probably wouldn't have gotten the photo. The peregrine kept one eye on me, and after a bit, decided to take lunch elsewhere. So, dead bird in talon, off the peregrine flew to another nearby tree.

Did I mention, I am crazy about peregrines?


Anonymous said...

What a great experience! I know well about not having the camera on some of those special moments, but think about it this way..if you had the camera, you'd be concentrating on taking the picture instead of just soaking up the moment. To me, those camera-less moments are a true gift!

Anonymous said...

Yes, they are elegant, fierce birds. My problem is with the Cooper's Hawk that's still terrifying my feeder birds. He was there again today - inelegantly clambering through my forsythia with a sparrow snack on his mind. Like you, I'm constantly chiding myself for forgetting the camera. The ones that get away really hurt.

KGMom said...

Laura--thanks for the reminder to soak up the moment.

Cathy--we used to put out bird seed, but when the peregrine began coming around, he (she?) discovered the easy pickings. So we stopped feeding the birds. It's a wrenching decision for me--I love the little birds that come to the feeder, and I am thrilled to see the peregrine in my neighborhood.

LauraHinNJ said...

Great sighting - they are such beautiful birds.