Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus anatum / pealei)



  • BC: Red – Sw (2011) / Blue – S3S4 (2019)
  • COSEWIC: Not At Risk / Special Concern
  • SARA:  Special Concern (2012) / Special Concern (2003)
  • Global: Apparently Secure (2016)
  • Galiano Island Status: Confirmed


The peregrine falcon is viewed by many as the most impressive bird of prey. This incredible bird is designed for speed and is the fastest bird in the world, reaching speeds up to 175 mph. Physically, the two species of falcon found in our region have long pointed wings and a narrow dark blue-black tail, a black head from the crown to below the eye which resembles a helmet, a yellow ring around the eye and a yellow bill with a dark tip. The peregrine falcon is generally silent except when breeding or disturbed.


In the Gulf Islands they nest on seaside cliff edges where the vantage point will offer good hunting results for shorebirds and waterfowl. They are faithful to nesting sites and aeries, some of which have been used by successive generations for centuries.


After nesting, their search for prey can take them as far as South America, although the two peregrine falcon subspecies of our area are known to stay in the local region.  The pealei subspecies is most the likely to be observed on Galiano Island; records of the anatum subspecies are thought to be hybrids.


Organochlorine compounds which bioaccumulate in the falcons’ bodies which thin the shells of the fertile eggs has been the greatest threat to these majestic birds. When DDT was banned in the 1970’s it had a significant positive impact on population numbers. Breeding programs were also introduced, and together these two forces have secured the populations of the falcons, although careful surveying and monitoring continues to be integral for the bird’s survival.

Galiano Status

A year-round population has established on Galiano Island.

Photo Credit

Frank Lin and Patricia Teague

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