The Canadian Peregrine Foundation

Project Track-'em: Lightning

The pigeon-eating falcon is a public attraction in SFM park

Translated by Neil & Ana Thomas
from an article by Narciso Acevedo in Ultima Hora

(March 4, 2002)

Information is that it was released in Canada as part of a scientific experiment to see how far it would migrate.


Unusual comments on the presence here of a Canadian falcon continue to emerge among the francomacorisanos and people from other places who visit the Duarte park to look at the bird which is demolishing the pigeons that spend the night there.

As will happen in these cases, the people express opinions and other comments, which go as far as it being a spy falcon sent from afar, and which has lost its way.

Over Saturday & Sunday tens of people, mainly young, collected in the park area. They clapped and made a lot of noise when the bird launched itself and flew from one place to another.

Shouts of joy erupted when the falcon entered the tower of the municipal building right where the pigeons have their nests, and as if it was a salute to the people who were watching from below, it stayed there for 20 minutes. 

In the streets, the people show interest in seeing the bird, above all since ULTIMA HORA released information. Representatives from the Natural History Institute came to this town to learn more about the presence of the falcon.

Dr L.E.Esmurdoc Rodriguez, veterinary doctor and expert on this type of bird, says that it is a diurnal bird of prey, as it comes out during the day to hunt its victims, and that not only does it eat pigeons but also smaller inoffensive birds.

Esmurdoc, who is also colonel-in-chief of this city’s firemen, said that its diet is based on live animals and that it doesn’t like to eat dead ones. So what is happening is that it eats the pigeons’ meat, and at the top of the antenna from where it perches, it drops bones and feathers.

He indicated that it is not an easy bird to capture, as it has very dangerous claws which allow it to keep its prey firmly gripped while it tears them apart, leading to his definition of it as a ‘body-breaker’ (?) He said that it is not a bird found in the Dominican Republic.

He confirmed that the bird has an antenna attached to its body.

Also in town this weekend was Mr Luis Amiama, member of the National Institute for Natural History, who left hanging the possibility that the bird be captured live and sent to Santo Domingo so that it could be sent to its place of origin.

According to Mr Amiama, it could be captured with a net or trap. In his opinion the importance of the bird is that it is being monitored from Canada by the wildlife people, where it was released in order to see to where it would migrate.

He explained that the migration generally happens in the cold season, normally October, when the temperature begins to fall in those countries.

This civil servant said he came to the city to study the falcon’s presence, then to work out what it is that will be done, always trying to keep it alive.

He commented that by consuming pigeons the falcon is only doing the city some good, given that pigeons generate high levels of contamination, which affects the human respiratory system. For this reason some neighbouring countries are removing pigeons from public places.

The peregrine falcon, like the one visiting us, is of medium size (15-20 inches), with long, pointed wings and a long tail. It has a wide black band across its throat, giving the impression of a mustache. Both female and male have dark bars on the abdomen, and a blue-black back. The beak is bluish, and the feet yellowish with black claws. The young are similar to the adults, but have a dark tail with clear bars, and their back is dark brown.

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