Peregrine Falcons

Peregrine falcons are on the Ohio state list of threatened birds. Ohio Division of Wildlife staff monitors 28 to 39 sites with territorial falcon pairs, as well as three sites with single birds. Cuyahoga Valley National Park is fortunate to have two pair.

Meg and Mac McQueen assisting female juvenile peregrine falcon_2011_NPS
Park biologist Meg Plona and park volunteer "Mac" McQueen assist in the retrieval of a female juvenile peregrine falcon that had difficulty flying after her initial flight.


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"Rocky and "Lara".

©C. Saladin

"Rocky" and "Lara"
Beginning in the spring 2008, a pair of peregrine falcons, "Rocky" and "Lara", nested successfully beneath the high level I-80 Turnpike Bridge over the Cuyahoga River in Boston Township. They have returned every year and have produced chicks. This pair of falcons can be seen year round in the area south of the Boston Store Visitor Center. For updates and photos on "Rocky" and "Lara", visit the
Cleveland Museum of Natural History Falcon Cam.


"McKinley" and "Strike" Join the Park
In April, 2011 a new pair of peregrine falcons were showing some interest in nesting beneath the high level Rt. 82 bridge at Station Road. Our peregrine enthusiasts identified the birds by their leg bands as "Strike", a female from the Cleveland Terminal Tower and the male "McKinley", from Canton. In early May, the pair began incubating eggs beneath the bridge. One chick was born, but it did not survive.

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Female falcon "Lara".

©C. Saladin

Peregrine Falcon Description
The peregrine falcon's scientific name is Falco peregrinus, which means "falcon wanderer." It is about the size and weight of a crow and normally grows to 15 inches in length with a 40-inch wingspan. The speed of a peregrine falcon has been said to reach 175 miles per hour or more.

Adults have long, pointed, dark blue-gray wings and backs, barred with black, and pale undersides. Their faces are white with a black stripe on each cheek, and they have large, dark eyes. Females are larger and more powerful than males.

Although they have a high mortality rate, peregrines have been known to live as long as 15 years.

Breeding Information
Peregrine falcons usually begin breeding at about two years old. The nest itself is little more than a shallow scrape, shaped by the birds in soil or accumulated debris. The nest holds three or four eggs (slightly smaller than those laid by chickens) that are mottled with a dark, reddish-brown pigment. Both adults incubate the eggs, and eggs hatch in about 33 days.

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Fledged peregrine falcon chick.

©C. Saladin

Eggs to Eyas
A young falcon in the nest is called a nestling or an eyas (pronounced I-es). It is covered by white down when hatched, which is replaced by feathers in three to five weeks. Both the adult male and female help care for the nestlings. Nestlings eat an incredible amount of food. They double their weight in only six days and at three weeks will be ten times birth size.

Around forty days, young peregrines begin flying but they are still dependent on their parents for up to four weeks. The young falcons leave the area where they hatched by the end of summer to disperse and establish a territory of their own, elsewhere.

Learn More
Visit the Ohio Department of Natural Resources peregrine falcon website to learn more.

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

15610 Vaughn Road
Brecksville, OH 44141


(330) 657-2752

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