Falcons In Pennsylvania with Pictures

Falcons are some of the most impressive birds in the world. With their swift flight, sharp eyesight, and deadly hunting abilities, it’s no surprise that they have captivated people for centuries. In Pennsylvania, these majestic raptors can be seen soaring through the sky with ease and grace. Whether you’re an avid birdwatcher or simply want to get a glimpse of one of nature’s top predators, falcons in PA offer something special for everyone. Let’s take a closer look at how this fascinating species presents itself within the Keystone State!

Pennsylvania is home to five different types of Falcons: American Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon, Gyrfalcon, Prairie Falcon and Merlin Falcon. Of all these species, it is thought that only two – the American Kestrel and Peregrine Falcon – actually nest here regularly. The other three are usually just passing through on migration routes each year. But even though they may not stay long enough to call PA their permanent home, spotting any of them while out birdwatching will certainly make your day exciting!

The best places to find falcons in Pennsylvania vary depending on which type you’re looking for. For example, if you’re hoping to spot an American Kestrel then open fields near wooded areas tend to be ideal spots; whereas if you want a chance at seeing a Peregrine Falcon then large cliffs overlooking rivers are where you should head first. No matter what kind of falcon experience you’re after there are plenty of opportunities available throughout the state so why not start planning your next adventure today?

American Kestrel

American Kestrel
American Kestrel

Beautiful and majestic, the American Kestrel has graced Pennsylvania with its presence for centuries. It’s a sight to behold, from its bright yellow legs to its iconic wingspan. These birds are known for creating their own nests to raise their young in and can be found anywhere there is an open field or meadow.

American Kestrel range map

Not only does this bird bring beauty to Pennsylvania, but it also helps with pest control by eating rodents, insects and other small animals that could cause damage if left unchecked. The American Kestrel is truly one of nature’s greatest gifts – a reminder of the beauty we have all around us every day. With that in mind, let’s look at another type of falcon native to our state: the Merlin.


Merlin Falco columbarius

Merlin (Falco columbarius) is a small, dark raptor that belongs to the same family as peregrine falcons. It is slightly smaller than its relative and has shorter wings. On average, Merlins measure about 33 cm in length with a wingspan of 61-66 cm.

In scientific studies, some key differences have been observed between Merlins and their larger relatives:

  • Physical Characteristics:
  • Merlin:
  • Length: 33 cm
  • Wingspan: 61-66 cm
  • Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus):
  • Length: 40–50 cm
  • Wingspan: 74-120 cm
  • Habitat Preferences :
  • Merlin : Prefers open landscapes such as grasslands or agricultural fields near woodland areas.
  • Peregrine Falcons : Prefer large cliffs for nesting but can also inhabit forests and wooded wetlands if available.
  • Diet :
  • Merlin : Primarily feeds on small birds like passerines, sparrows and starlings. May also feed on rodents, reptiles, amphibians and insects at times.
  • Peregrine Falcons : Feed mainly on medium-sized birds like ducks, grouse, pigeons etc., although they may occasionally prey upon small mammals too.

The two species share certain similarities yet differ significantly in size and habitat preferences. Despite this fact, both are impressive predators in their own right that play an important role in the balance of nature.

Peregrine Falcons

Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine Falcon

After the discussion of Merlin, let’s transition our focus to another species of majestic bird: Peregrine Falcons. Like a glimmering diamond in the sky, these birds soar gracefully above cities and wilderness alike.

WorldwideGround squirrels, songbirds & waterfowl24-58 inches
Insects (in warmer months)

The peregrine falcon is one of the most widely distributed raptors on Earth; they are found in temperate regions around the globe and even inhabit certain urban areas. They feed mainly on small mammals like ground squirrels, as well as other birds such as songbirds and waterfowl. These incredibly agile predators have an impressive wingspan ranging from 24-58 inches depending on their sex. City peregrines often take advantage of building ledges for nesting sites – making them easily accessible for observation by people living or visiting those cities!

Peregrine Falcon range map

Overall, peregrine falcons are highly adaptable birds that can survive in many different habitats throughout their range. With this knowledge in mind, we move forward with our exploration into other species of falcons – starting with prairie falcons next!

Prairie Falcon

Prairie Falcon
Prairie Falcon

The Prairie Falcon is one of the falcons that can be found in Pennsylvania. It is a medium-sized raptor and typically has brown upperparts with white underparts. Its tail has narrow black bars, and its wings are pointed for fast flight. The Prairie Falcon also has yellow legs and feet, as well as a distinctive eyestripe that runs from the bill to the back of its head. They hunt by soaring high above open fields or grasslands looking for prey such as small mammals or birds.

Prairie Falcon range map

The Prairie Falcon may look similar to other species of falcons like Merlins and Kestrels but it is much larger than those two species. The Merlin is only 8 inches long while the prairie falcon reaches lengths up to 16 inches – almost twice the size! This makes them easily identifiable even when they are flying at great heights because their large size stands out against smaller birds in the sky. In addition, this bigger bird allows them to catch prey more effectively than their smaller counterparts.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is The Best Way To Attract Falcons To My Backyard?

Attracting falcons to your backyard can seem like a daunting task. But with the right approach, you could be hosting these majestic birds before you know it! Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to make your yard more inviting for falcons.

For starters, providing an ample food supply is key. Putting out fresh meat or even bird feeders will help entice them in. You may feel as if you’re going above and beyond by doing this, but trust us – it’ll pay off in spades! It’s almost certain that they’ll find their way over eventually thanks to your efforts.

Alternatively, creating nesting spaces can also do wonders. This doesn’t have to mean anything too drastic – simply adding platforms made from natural materials such as logs and sticks should suffice. Falcons love having plenty of places to roost comfortably so don’t skimp on them here:

  • Make sure there are enough resting spots for multiple birds;
  • Find areas that provide both sun exposure and shade;
  • Provide one larger spot per three smaller ones (for fledglings).

Not only does this create a welcoming atmosphere, but it also gives nearby falcons a place to breed and raise their young safely without any human interference. After all, feeling safe is paramount when searching for a new home! In addition, making sure there aren’t any predators present in your backyard is necessary as well – nothing puts off potential guests quicker than fear of danger!

Are There Any Falcon Species That Are Endangered In Pennsylvania?

Falcons, one of the most majestic birds in the world, have long been admired by bird watchers and enthusiasts alike. As their habitats continue to diminish worldwide due to human influence, it’s important to ask ourselves: are there any falcon species that are endangered in our region?

Pennsylvania is home to two species of falcons—the peregrine falcon and American kestrel. While both species remain fairly common throughout Pennsylvania, they are considered threatened or special concern. This means populations of these birds may be decreasing as a result of environmental changes caused by humans. The effects include destruction of habitat, pollution and illegal hunting activities.

Conservation efforts such as creating artificial nesting sites for these birds can help increase their numbers and ensure their survival. In addition, local wildlife organizations often hold events where people can come together and learn more about how they can help protect falcons’ natural habitats. By taking part in conservation initiatives like these we can do our part to preserve this magnificent creature for future generations.

How Can I Tell The Difference Between The Different Species Of Falcons In Pennsylvania?

Identifying different species of animals can be tricky, especially when there are multiple that look alike. This is true for falcons in Pennsylvania as well; how can you tell the difference between them?
There are a few things to consider when attempting to distinguish one species of falcon from another. Size and coloration are two important factors to note. The American kestrel typically has reddish brown back feathers with black spots, while the peregrine falcon has more blue-gray coloring on its wings and tail. Additionally, size plays an important role in recognizing which type it is: the American kestrel is much smaller than the peregrine falcon. With practice, looking at photographs or observing these birds in real life will help you recognize their unique characteristics more easily.

Observing behavior patterns may also aid in identification. For example, the American kestrel tends to stay near open fields where they hunt small rodents like mice and voles, whereas peregrine falcons prefer areas close to cliffs and rivers so they can swoop down and catch prey living within those habitats. Furthermore, if you’re lucky enough to hear a call coming from either bird, listening carefully will give away which one it’s coming from since each species has its own distinct sound associated with it.

Are There Specific Areas In Pennsylvania Where Falcons Are More Likely To Be Found?

The question of whether there are specific areas in Pennsylvania where falcons can be found is an intriguing one. It’s important to consider the different species of falcon, as well as their habitats and other factors that make them more likely to frequent certain locations. To determine if these birds have particular regions they’re more likely to inhabit, we must first look at their behavior and habitat preferences.

Falcons tend to live in open fields or grasslands where they can hunt for small animals like rodents. They may also dwell near forests with plenty of trees, since this offers cover from predators and provides a space for nesting materials. Additionally, depending on the season, some species of falcon may move around between various geographic locations within Pennsylvania. This means that although you may find them in one area during summer months, they could be somewhere else come wintertime.

To get a better sense of where each type of falcon might be located throughout the year, it’s best to research further into their habits and behaviors. With this knowledge, you’ll be able to identify potential spots in Pennsylvania where you might spot a variety of different types of these majestic birds!

Is It Legal To Own A Falcon In Pennsylvania?

For centuries, falcons have captivated the human imagination with their grace and beauty. They soar through the sky in search of prey, gliding on air currents effortlessly. To some people, these majestic birds represent power, freedom, and independence – qualities that many of us strive for.

But when it comes to owning a falcon as a pet or hunting partner in Pennsylvania, legalities are involved:

  • Owners must have a valid US Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) permit
  • Hunting is only allowed during certain times of year
  • In order to obtain an ownership permit, applicants must demonstrate knowledge about falconry
  • Falcons may not be taken from the wild; they must be bred in captivity or acquired from another licensed individual.

It’s important to note that laws regarding falconry vary by state; what may be permitted in one area might not necessarily be allowed elsewhere. So while owning a beautiful bird such as a peregrine falcon can bring joy to its owner, it’s also essential to understand all applicable regulations before taking any action. With proper care and guidance, you can provide your feathered friend with everything it needs to thrive in your home – just make sure you’re doing so legally!


In conclusion, if you’re looking to attract falcons to your backyard in Pennsylvania, the best way is to have a bird feeder filled with wild bird seed. Additionally, it’s important to be aware of any endangered species and research which areas are more likely for these birds to inhabit. For those that wish to own a falcon as a pet, there are laws against this – so make sure that you educate yourself before making any decisions.

When it comes to identifying different species of falcons, understanding their unique features can help differentiate them from one another. My advice? Take some time out of your day and observe these majestic creatures up close – they’re truly breathtaking! Like a bolt of lightning streaking across the sky, watching them soar gracefully through the air will take your breath away.

If you want an amazing experience connecting with nature and its wildlife by observing falcons in Pennsylvania, then I highly recommend doing so! It may require patience on your part but it’s worth every second when they appear in front of you like a vision amidst the clouds – almost as if they came straight out of fairy-tale.