March 15, 2014

Birds of Prey in the San Juans

Many animals call the San Juan Islands home.  From kelp crabs to orcas and finches to eagles the San Juans have and abundance of species.  With both ocean and land environments, birds of all sorts abound on San Juan Island.  Bald Eagles and Peregrine Falcons are two top predators of the sky.

Bald Eagles are well known as the national bird of the United States.  Bald Eagles mate for life and return every year to the same nest.  They even have the ingenuity to build a second next, just in case the first one should break or fall.  The largest nest on record weighed more than 2.000lbs!  Bald Eagles are known for sitting out on the limbs of trees to better see prey in the waters below.  When fishing, Bald Eagles prefer salmon as they are fatty and make a great meal.  Unfortunately for the Bald Eagle, a large salmon can get the better of the formidable predator.  Bald Eagles will sometimes work so relentlessly to get a large salmon out of the water that they will drown in the process.  While eagles are great hunters, they are first and foremost a scavenger.  With their large size Bald Eagles will steal other animals meals and feed on carcasses whenever possible.  A Bald Eagle has a wing span of up to 8 ft and can weigh close to 15lbs.

The Peregrine Falcon, at a maximum of just 3 lbs, seems like it would less impressive than the Bald Eagle, but it is this falcon's speed that sets it apart.  Peregrine Falcons can dive at speeds over 200mph, making them the fastest animal on earth.  Peregrines are such quick hunters that they have been knows to prey upon hummingbirds. The Peregrine Falcon mostly preys upon other birds, and will even go after other smaller birds of prey.  In cities, these falcons have been known to nest on the tops of tall sky scrapers and enjoy an endless buffet of pigeon.  There are several nests throughout the San Juans where these amazing hunters perch.  If you are lucky enough, you may even see one dive for a meal.

We can't wait to get back on the water and see these amazing birds at work.

Emily

Reservations Manager, San Juan Safaris