"Guide to Management of Peregrine
Falcons at the Eyrie,"
edited by T. Cade, J. Enderson and J. Linthicum
Reprinted courtesy of the Peregrine
A general display used in many situations, especially as part of
Male or Female Ledge Display
The falcon stands over the nest depression (scrape), leaning forward
(bowing) and "ee-chupping". The male often stares at the female
during a male ledge display.
Either bird can do this. The falcon runs its breast through the
substrate or nest depression, pushing out with its legs behind.
The bird is forming the nest cup (scrape), but this is also part
of courtship. Scrapes may be made at several potential ledges before
one is finally chosen for laying.
Mutual Ledge Display
Often this is precipitated by a male or female ledge display. The
other bird joins the first on the ledge and both bow and "ee-chup"
over the scrape, sometimes touching bills. This can also happen
outside the Aerie.
The male offers food to the female by approaching her or standing
near, with food in talons or beak, The female takes the food from
the male, usually "ee-chupping" or wailing. This can happen in the
air or perched. The male often signals the female that he has food
by wailing as he approaches the cliff.
Landing Display and Hitch-Wing Posture (male)
A pre-copulatory display in which "shoulders" are held high as if
in a shrug, and male often prances as if on Tiptoe.
The female leans forward and moves her tail to one side. The male
rests on his tarsi (part of the foot above the toes, like the foot),
on her back flapping his wings, and presses his tail underneath
the female's. Copulations are usually accompanied by wailing on
the female's part, and chittering or "ee-chupping" by the male.
When the male departs, the female usually "ee-chups" a few times,
and often rouses (shakes her feathers).
Peregrines sometimes store uneaten food for later retrieval. They
usually have several favorite cache spots on the cliff or elsewhere
in the territory.
The falcon hangs its head and wags it from side to side with mouth
open. Eventually a pellet (casting) of non-digestible material is
A repetitious, staccato "ee-chup, ee-chup, ee-chup" sound. Males
have a higher-pitched "ee-chip." Variations include a slower "chip,
chip, chip" usually during ledge displays and while feeding young.
"Ee-chup" usually implies social recognition, but a very similar
sound, louder and more staccato, is given as a response to vagrant
raptors, usually Peregrines.
Very loud "cack, cack, cack." A response to disturbance, either
a raptor or other animal (including the observer) too near the Aerie.
A long slow ascending "waaaaaaa, waaaaaaa, waaaaaaa." Sometimes
connotes hunger, but also used in a variety of circumstances. Youngsters
have a more insistent variation of this call, which is often referred
to as hunger screaming.
Like "ee-chupping" but quicker and less defined. Usually used by
birds in proximity, often when one bird is being made uncomfortable
by some aspect of the interaction, or during play by fledglings.