7 super fly peregrine falcon facts

Plus, how to see them up close.


What a resplendent raptor.

Photo by @christinalredman

Did you know falcons are alive + well right here in WNC? In fact, a pair of peregrine falcons is currently nesting on Grandfather Mountain for the first time since 2008.

In honor of this momentous occasion, let’s look at some fast facts about these super fly raptors.

  • Peregrine falcons are permanent residents in the WNC mountains and live seasonally throughout the state and on each continent except for Antarctica.
  • Of the 16 subspecies of falcons, three of them live in NC: the peregrine, the American kestrel, and the merlin.
  • Move over, cheetahs. These raptors are the fastest animal on Earth, reaching a top speed of up to 240 miles per hour.
  • Breeding pairs tend to be monogamous throughout their lifespan and return to the same nesting location year after year.
  • They were once a federally endangered species and are still endangered in North Carolina, with an estimated 15 pairs nesting in the state annually.
  • While they can live up to 20 years, their average life span is five to six years.
  • Captive peregrine falcons have long been used in the sport of falconry.

Want to see some peregrine falcons live and up close? Outside of a chance encounter, we recommend these two spots for falconry lessons:

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