Photo special: Peregrine falcon spotted in Tommy Thompson Park
The peregrine falcon was almost extinct mere decades ago. It is now still an endangered species and a very rare sight for most of us. A young peregrine falcon was recently spotted at Toronto’s Tommy Thompson Park.
Tommy Thompson Park is one of Toronto’s best places to go to if one wants to see birds. This unique park, conquered by nature after humans created it, and now being helped along by humans, boasts that hundreds of bird species live there, use it as a stopover or at the very least, have been spotted there, regardless of the reason. It is also a prime location for spotting migratory birds during the spring and autumn migrations.
In spite of Tommy Thompson Park being such an important place for birds, peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus) are rarely seen at the park. The park’s species list gives peregrine falcons an R-rating, meaning that it is present in very low numbers but observed annually. With such credentials, it should hardly come as a surprise that most visitors will never see a peregrine falcon at the park.
I go very often to Tommy Thompson Park, and should be more lucky, but reality has taught me differently. This peregrine falcon was the very first I have ever seen at the park. What was particularly unique about this sighting, is that the falcon was perching on the railing of the pedestrian bridge. Peregrine falcons normally prefer to perch high up because this allows them to look for potential prey while they are resting.
There used to be light standards in the park. Falcons and other birds of prey used these as perches. However, the standards no longer functioned and were removed. As a result, there are not as many places for the birds of prey to perch. It seems reasonable to assume that this falcon was trying to adapt to the situation by using the bridge’s railing. Since I could not look into the bird’s head to see what it was thinking, this is of course pure speculation on my part, and not to be taken as fact.
Whatever the reason this falcon was perching on the railing of the pedestrian bridge, there can be little doubt that most conservation experts will consider the presence of this bird in Tommy Thompson Park a very good thing.
More information on this magnificent bird can be found on Hinterland Who’s Who.