Skip to content

Fledgling falcon spotted at Christina Lake

Renae DeRosa spotted this falcon learning to fly.

Falcons are birds of prey in the genus Falco, which includes about 40 species.

The birds are widely distributed on all continents of the world except Antarctica.

How to tell the difference between a hawk and a falcon?

Falcons typically have long and pointed wings and a long tail, while hawks have shorter and rounder wings and a long, narrow tail

British Columbia is home to several species of falcons.

Here are some of the notable ones: 

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus

Description: Known for their incredible speed, peregrine falcons are among the fastest birds in the world, reaching speeds over 240 mph (386 km/h) during dives. 

Habitat: They are found in various habitats, including coastal cliffs, river valleys, and urban areas where they nest on tall buildings. 

Status: The peregrine falcon population has rebounded significantly after the banning of DDT, a pesticide that had caused a severe decline in their numbers. 

Merlin (Falco columbarius

Description: A smaller falcon, merlins are known for their aggressive hunting style and are often seen chasing small birds. 

Habitat: They inhabit open areas, forest edges, and sometimes urban environments. 

Status: Merlins are generally considered to be stable in population and are widely distributed across North America. 

Gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus

Description: The largest of the falcon species, gyrfalcons are powerful hunters and have a varied diet that includes other birds and small mammals. 

Habitat: They are more commonly found in the northern parts of British Columbia, especially in tundra and coastal areas during the winter. 

Status: Gyrfalcons are less commonly seen compared to other falcons but are not considered at risk. 

American Kestrel (Falco sparverius

Description: The smallest falcon in North America, American kestrels are colourful and have distinctive facial markings. 

Habitat: They prefer open fields and farmlands where they hunt for insects and small rodents. 

Status: While their numbers have declined in some areas, they are still relatively common and widespread. 

Falcon conservation in British Columbia involves habitat protection, monitoring populations, and public education to ensure these magnificent birds continue to thrive in the region. 



Sheri Regnier

About the Author: Sheri Regnier

Read more