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Friday, September 8, 2017

Falcons in the City: The Story of a Peregrine Family. Written by Chris Earley with photography by Luke Massey. A Firefly Book, 2016. $9.95 ages 8 and up

"Raptors are known to fiercely protect their nest sites, and peregrine falcons are no exception. With their impressive flying abilities and sharp talons, peregrines can do serious damage to a potential predator, such as a raccoon or an arctic fox. Peregrine parents have been known to drive away ... "

Somehow, this book got lost on the shelf that houses nonfiction books waiting to be posted. I'm sorry it has taken such a long time to review it here.

I was suitably intrigued by the subject because our city once boasted a long-time pair of peregrine falcons nesting on a downtown building. I am not sure that they are still there, but I found it fascinating to learn so much more about them when I first read this book.

It is beautifully illustrated with clear, often breathtaking photographs of these masters of the sky. The story begins with Chicago resident Dacey Arashiba. He was surprised to find not one, but two, falcons sitting on the railing of his balcony, 28 floors above the ground. Chris Earley writes his story, and Luke Massey provides the incredible images that accompany it.

Mr. Earley writes in chapters that move from discovery and identification, to every aspect of the learning done concerning these amazing predators. The information provided is detailed, and very clear. I love that it also tells the human story of particular peregrines and the journey made with them.
It makes the learning for young readers more personal and attractive. I can't imagine there is much more to learn about these beautiful birds.

"When peregrines feed they first have to pluck away many of the
prey's feathers. Feathers are not very nutritious, so eating them isn't
worthwhile. Then they use their sharp beaks to tear small bits off
of the prey to swallow. Peregrines usually eat on the ground,
especially if the prey they kill is too heavy to fly off with. If the
prey is small enough, they often carry it to an elevated perch.
Sometimes they eat small prey in the air as they are flying."

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