Species group: Birds of Prey
Other common names: N/A
Scientific name: Falco mexicanus
As a North American endemic, the Prairie Falcon was not a traditional falconry bird, but it has been tested by North American falconers for decades, and it is generally regarded to be a temperamental species not suitable for beginners.
The name Prairie Falcon is poorly chosen if it makes you think of a bird of the low, flat plains. This North American species prefers high grasslands, alpine meadows, and mountains, choosing habitat up to 10,000 feet in elevation. Like the Peregrine, it often breeds on very high cliffs.
Because of the licensing and expertise required to be a responsible owner of a bird of prey, the following information is offered only as a hint of what you will need to learn to work with these birds. There's no substitute for hands-on training, which we strongly recommend that you pursue before trying to acquire any bird of prey.
Roughly Peregrine Falcon sized, Prairie Falcons are a lighter brown with a narrow moustache mark. When standing underneath a flying bird, you may notice that the Peregrine's underwings seem uniformly dark, while the Prairie Falcon appears to be a lighter winged bird with dark “armpits.” Males are smaller than females.
Males: 524 grams (18.5 oz.)
Females: 848 grams (30 oz.)
Males: 30 centimeters (15 in.)
Females: 109 centimeters (17 in.)
15 - 20 years
Behavior / temperament:
“Irascible” is the word often applied to the temperamental Prairie Falcon. While experienced falconers have certainly trained some talented birds, they warn that some individuals can be unpredictable.
A good Prairie Falcon pen, aviary, or mews will provide shade from direct sunlight in the summer, protection from extremes of winter weather, and good security to lock out thieves. A roof that completely covers the structure is stronger and offers more protection from high winds than a partial roof. Don't shortchange them on space, since their long wings mean they really need space to stretch out. Like most birds of prey, they will enjoy some clean, shallow water for bathing.
The Prairie Falcon is a carnivore that needs to consume some whole prey in order to allow its digestive system to work properly. The wild birds take large numbers of ground squirrels during the breeding season. When the ground squirrels are hibernating and out of reach, the versatile Prairie Falcon can switch to hunting birds on the wing. In captivity, they have bred on a diet based on easily obtained items like day old chicks and Coturnix quail. They should also be provided with water.
Written by Elaine Radford
best aerial maneuvers, FUN BIRD
socialization, minimal safe places, training, myriad hazards, various falconry equipment
Worked and hunted with a prairie falcon
Prairie falcons, like most birds of prey, are extremely time-consuming and require certain conditions. They need to be flown almost every day. To train them well, you will need at least two hours a day for about a month, 1 hour a day for another two months, and then about 15 minutes a day for the rest of their life. If you live in a large city, I would not recommend a prairie falcon - after all, they're adapted to the prairie, and it'll be very difficult to train them in a city without having your falcon sustain serious injuries from the myriad hazards of urban life - telephone wires, buildings, cars, minimal safe places to land. I live in a small town near mountains and forests, and thus it was fairly easy to go out regularly and let Schooner hunt. The hard part was maintaining her when we weren't hunting - it requires a large cage/building, a stock of pigeon, quail, or small mammals for the falcon to eat, and various falconry equipment like hoods, gloves, and leashes. Schooner was very unpredictable and difficult to train - and that's even when I got him when he had been trained for two years already. Essentially, if watching a falcon you trained streak out of the clouds and catch a sparrow on the fly sounds awesome enough to motivate you to spend large amounts of time and toil making this a reality, then a prairie falcon is right for you..
From vintners Aug 2 2015 11:21PM