Peregrine Falcons

A female uniformed ranger holds a falcon in her gloved hands; next to her a man in khaki vest smiles and looks at the bird.
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.


Two falcons with a blue sky behind them; one perches on a branch while the other flies behind it, right-to-left.
A pair of peregrines, "Rocky" & "Lara", resided in the park before "Gatewood" and Trailblazer.

© C. Saladin

"Gatewood" and "Trailblazer"

A pair of peregrine falcons, "Trailblazer" and "Gatewood", have been known to nest beneath the high level I-80 Turnpike Bridge over the Cuyahoga River in Boston Township. This pair of falcons can be seen year round in the area south of the Boston Mill Visitor Center.

"Ferris" and an Unnamed Male Join the Park

In March 2017 a new pair of peregrine falcons began showing some interest in nesting beneath the high level Rt. 82 bridge at Station Road. This was the first peregrine nesting activity at the bridge since a young pair nested under the bridge in 2011. Our peregrine enthusiasts identified the female, "Ferris", by her leg bands. "Ferris" was banded near Toronto, Canada when she hatched in 2015. The male is unbanded and his previous whereabouts are unknown.

A falcon with dark head, yellow beak and speckled beige breast perches on a tree limb in front of a gray sky.
Female falcon "Lara".

© C. Saladin

About Peregrine Falcons

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.

A falcon with mottled brown-and-beige breast and large, yellow feet stands on a rock and looks at the camera with its mouth wide open.
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.

At around forty days, young peregrines begin flying but they are still dependent on their parents for up to four more 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 page to learn more.

Last updated: December 3, 2021

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15610 Vaughn Road
Brecksville, OH 44141


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