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National Bird Project - Vote for Canada's National Bird
National Bird Project - Vote for Canada's National Bird


Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus )

Votes: 346

Peregrine falcon
Photo illustration: Canadian Geographic; Photo: Sobhana_Venkatesan / CG Photo Club

This is a large, blue-grey falcon with a long tail and long, pointed wings. It has a distinct black hood and sideburns and a yellow eye ring, its breast is plain while its sides, belly and leggings are barred. Peregrine falcons are found across the globe, everywhere from tundra to mountains, coasts and urban areas.

(Both Sexes)
Weight 0.53-1.6 kg
Length 36-49 cm
Wingspan 1-1.1 m
Peregrine falcon range map
Range map courtesy iBird for Windows
Click to enlarge

Vote for the Peregrine falcon for Canada’s National Bird


Comments and essays appear in the language in which they were submitted


I think the Peregine falcon should be the national bird of Canada because its the fastest animal on earth(reaching speeds upto 200mph) and it can adapt to different climates. Not all Peregines eat the same type of food, it depends upon where they live.


I agree with others that the selection of a national bird for Canada should exclude birds already acting as provincial/territorial emblems. So the Common loon and Snowy Owl are out! And while the Canada goose might seem an obvious choice, I just don't think it's majestic enough for a national bird — it's gaining a significant reputation as a nuisance.

My vote is for the Peregrine falcon. Here's why:

WORLDLY: Both the English and scientific names mean "wandering falcon." Like Canadians, it can trace its roots back to immigration patterns and today can be found nearly everywhere on Earth.

MULTICULTURAL: Experts recognize 17 to 19 subspecies which vary in appearance and range.

ADAPTABLE TO CLIMATE: In mild-winter regions, it is usually a permanent resident. In harsher Arctic climates, it typically migrates great distances during the northern winter. The peregrine falcon lives mostly along mountain ranges, river valleys, coastlines, and increasingly in cities. It nests in a scrape, normally on cliff edges or, in recent times, on tall human-made structures like buildings and bridges.

RESPECTED, like our Canadian Forces and Peacekeeping efforts: The peregrine falcon is a highly admired falconry bird, and has been used in falconry for more than 3,000 years. It is well respected due to its strong hunting ability, high trainability, and versatility. Its advantages include not only its athleticism and eagerness, but an equitable disposition that make it easy to work with. The peregrine is renowned for its speed, reaching over 320 km/h (200 mph) during its characteristic hunting stoop (high speed dive), making it the fastest member of the animal kingdom.

PUNCHES ABOVE ITS WEIGHT, something often said of Canada: Peregrines defending their nests have managed to kill raptors as large as golden eagles and bald eagles (both of which they normally avoid as potential predators) by ambushing them in a full stoop (attack dive)

• In urban areas, the main component of the peregrine's diet is the rock or feral pigeon, which comprise 80% or more of the dietary intake for peregrines in some cities.
• Peregrine falcons are also occasionally used to scare away birds at airports to reduce the risk of bird-plane strikes, improving air-traffic safety, and were used to intercept homing pigeons during World War II.
• It mates for life.


I think that the Canadian National Bird should be the Peregrine Falcon. I think it because it is the fastest living thing on Earth. It should represent Canada because of its strength and speed. This cool bird or raptor lives in forests and cities. It has an average wing span of 1 metre. Its scientific name is Falco Peregrinus. It hunts other animals like sparrows, chickadees and rats. Right now the falcon's homes are being destroyed for farmland. Fewer remain each year. Maybe being Canada's National Bird will help it to survive. It hunts by snatching things out of the sky and dive bombing, an unstoppable wrath of fury. I think that the great and mighty peregrine falcon should be the national bird of Canada.

Tim Du (Grade 4)

I would like to vote for the Peregrine falcon because it is the fastest animal on Earth and it was almost endangered. It is a special bird just as Canadians are special people.

Gotta love that Falco peregrinus


The perigan falcon is a beautiful and majestic bird that is strong and a real suvivor. I think it represents the strength of the people who survived building this country.

The majestic peregrine falcon is beautiful and yet unassuming in appearance, a fitting parallel to the Canadian people. They are generally quiet and easy going but have an unmistakable voice when necessary. Likewise they may not be a bird who goes looking for trouble but they are fierce and courageous when the need arises. The peregrine is extremely loyal and family oriented, often forming monogamous relationships as they mate for life. All of these characteristics embody what it is to be Canadian. In some manner of speaking the peregrine falcons share our core values and live a lifestyle not unlike our own as Canadians.

The peregrine sports a modest blue-grey upper, subdued creamy barred under side and is accented with pretty yellow skin around the eyes, beak, and feet. Though not the largest of raptor species the peregrine is indeed a force to be reconed with. A large powerful falcon in its own right with a wingspan of 3' 4" (1m) and it portrays the iconic pointed winged silhouette so typical of the falcon.

While the peregrine falcon may not be the biggest or the flashiest bird on the block, it is without question one of the fastest most impressive raptors in the world today. The peregrine is believed to be the fastest creature in the animal kingdom, reaching speeds of up to 200 mph. It attacks from above, reaching great heights before power-diving to strike its targeted prey below. The peregrine falcon is regarded by falconers, biologists, and bird fanciers alike as one of the most noble and spectacular of all the birds of prey.

Though the peregrine falcon is uncommon in most areas of the world it is a highly adaptable migratory species and can be found on six continents. The peregrine, multicultural as it may be, is a true Canadian. To demonstrate its versatility and love of country the peregrine can be found all across our great land.

Like many Canadians the peregrine has also overcome its share of adversity. In fact in the mid 20th century the peregrine was at risk of extinction and so declared an endangered species. Not willing to throw in the towel however the falcons (with the help of many Canadian) rallied and adapted. In fact this incredible falcon has made such an exceptional comeback that it can be seen living and/or migrating through every single one of Canada's provinces and territories.

To call this bird adaptable may actually be an understatement. Like the people of Canada (both indigenous and immigrant) the peregrine thrives in a wide range and a wide variety of habitats. They thrive on cliffs and over open country, in the desert or tundra, on mountains or prairies, and yes they even thrive in urban cities. Where possible the peregrine loves to settle near water, such as along rocky coast lines. As a migratory bird they are capable of flying great distances. Though not considered an ocean bird, when migrating they are even known to fly miles out to sea. In the absense of suitable nest sites or prey in the wilderness or rural environments we again witness this falcon's superior adaptability as they take to the cities, nesting on building ledges and feeding on urban birds and critters.

For all the reasons I've described I believe the peregrine falcon would make a fine choice as Canada's national bird. Independent, multicultural/migratory, adaptable, loyal, courageous, powerful, and fast the peregrine are an impressive avian species. Mid sized with muted colours and a quiet nature the peregrine is also an unassuming species. So many strong parallels to the Canadian people. I for one would be proud to have the majestic peregrine falcon as our national bird.

The peregrine falcon, first and foremost, is super cool. As well, it can be found almost anywhere on the planet, which is representative of canada's history with immigration. The peregrine falcon can be found all over canada, and with its speed and grace it is a wonderful candidate for national bird

The Peregrine Falcon is endangered and should be preserved

I love peregrine falcons. Me and my boyfriend mate for life, just like the peregrine falcon.

the Peregrine has survived the best efforts of industrial society to cause its extinction. It has survived due to the best efforts of individuals. It has adapted to the urban environment by nesting on highrise buildings where their young are safe. It is a powerful symbol for the Indigenous Peoples in Canada as well as environmentalists. It's a fiesty little creature which reminds me of our country at its best, highly skilled, committed to its community and young, inspiring and helping us to look to our hopes for the future.

The peregrine falcon is the best choice because it is the fastest bird in the world, it is strong and fierce, and it is found pretty much anywhere in Canada and it is NOT the provincial bird of any province in Canada, unlike the3 snowy owl, Canada goose and the black capped chickadee.

C'est l'oiseau le plus badass de la liste !

Should other countries not look at us with respect? Look at us only to see beauty? (snowy owl) Think of us as a crazed country? (canadian geese) also like the maple leaf should the national bird only live in half of Canada. The peregrine falcon has grace, speed ,agility it is respected and are peaceful creatures if not harmed. Living though disasters and surviving through the evil uses of pesticides and DDT making a stupendous recovery. Do we not want a powerful bird like this as our national bird .Showing others how powerful we are?

As one of the protected species on the road to recovery, this bird symbolizes the speed, tenacity and drive that Canadians represent in the 21st century.

My first Choice

The Peregrine Falcon symbolizes Canada's strength and beauty.

I think you should vote for this bird because it is the fastest bird on the earth and it's smart like how Canadians are. This bird is really small and sneaky plus fierce like us.

I think you should vote for this because it is the fastest bird on earth

I think it should be the Peregrine Falcon because it is really fast and strong and it is lives in all the provinces and territories.

Peregrine Falcon is awesome.It is truly Canadian

We should pick the Peregrine Falcon because it's great speed and the fact that it is a raptor.It would be a good choice also because they are not flashy birds, and they devour pests like rats,mice,shrews,voles,moles,rabbits,etc, and they only do what they gotta do in life they don't think about the extra things in life. Another reason to choose this bird is because it is used in falconing, a great help to man and its a more natural,efficient way of hunting.

because ther fast

not the biggest bird, but packs the most punch. Quietly understated, very canadian. utube the Perigrine Falcon vs all commers, just an amazing bird to watch, very honourable raptor.

graceful, intelligent

You couldn't ask for a better bird to represent Canada. The Peregrine Falcon is your typical Canadian. Strong, Majestic, Highly adaptable & built for speed. I understand why the Loon is at the top right now but it's too typical. We need to think outside the box, besides it already adorns the infamous Loonie.

The Peregrine Falcon is the fastest bird in the world so I think we should have the Peregrine Falcon for the National bird to show how Canada can still move fast in the cold winters.They are really interesting because sometimes Peregrine Falcons can be blue which is a really cool colour.

the Peregrine falcon is the worlds fastest flying bird, it is at the top of it,s food chain. This bird can be found in ALL Canadian provences and territories. In the biggest cities or the most remote wilderness. The peregrine falcon is prized by raptor trainers world wide and respected world wide, much as Canadians are welcome world wide. Though not an eagle or even the largest falcon it is in a class of it's own.

Until having actually seen this bird (Raptor) the Peregrine Falcon up close, I really couldn't appreciate how magnificent this creature is. Just outside my back door sitting in a lower branch I was able to get a very good picture of it. Although rare - it is making a come back with the help of many people. It should be the Canadian National Bird because it is the one of fastest living creatures on Earth. It has strength and speed and lives in forests and cities. It hunts animals like sparrows, pigeons, chickadees and rats. Fewer remain each year and being Canada's National Bird may help it to survive.

I feel honored that I have been given the privilege of choosing Canada's national bird an I choose none other than the peregrine falcon. The peregrine falcons name means wanderer. This relates to our history in so many ways. Britain and France needed to "wander" to stumble upon North America. This bird is included in the spiritual beliefs of first nations and they can also be represented by the peregrine falcon though you probably don't want a history lesson. This is one of the fastest birds in the world (this bird is faster than me). In defensive or protective mode this falcon can kill birds the size of golden and bald eagles U.S.A better watch out. The common loon is being voted because of its call but we are an independent country, we should be represented by an independent bird which the common loon is not. The snowy owl is a beautiful bird but should other countries look at us and judge us by beauty (no). This bird escaped the clutches of extinction showing other countries Canada can overcome anything. This is a determined bird that will do anything to get what it wants and so is Canada if we were not determined would Canada even exist. This bird is strong, bold yet smart like Canada. Seeing a peregrine falcon I know how rare it is to see one and everyone goes quiet even me. Canada is a rare country just like the peregrine falcon. This falcon is peaceful if not disturbed Canada is also quite peaceful with other countries. The peregrine falcon lives all over Canada so every province and territory is represented. Why shouldn't the peregrine falcon represent Canada.

Parce qu'il se retrouve partout au Canada.
Un oiseau rapace à toujours fiers allure.

My vote is with the Peregrine falcon because it is a majestic raptor, which has been brought back from the brink and is now beginning to flourish again. Hence, it represents the following characteristics: present in all of Canada & worldwide, tenacious, fast & efficient flier, beautiful and top of the food chain predator.

Comment vite est-ce que ça va?

Wonderful & Rare now...

Mon choix aurait pu se porter sur bien d'autres oiseaux: le mésangeai du Canada, la buse à queue rousse ou le petit Junco, mais j'ai opté pour une espèce que l'on pourrait rencontrer partout au Canada. Pas seulement d'Est en Ouest, mais également de l'Île-du-Prince-Édouard au Nunavut.

Mon autre raison est que le faucon pèlerin, malgré une grande amélioration de l'état de ses populations, reste une espèce à statut précaire et qu'un titre d'emblème aviaire du Canada ne peut que l'aider à obtenir un peu d'attention de la part de nos élus... Surtout quand ceux qui sont au pouvoir, n'ont visiblement pas d'autres intérêts pour les oiseaux, que lorsqu'ils sont dans leur assiette...

Et puis, le faucon pèlerin, c'est quand même un fichu de bel oiseau et un super athlète!

My choice has to do with the amazing feats of everyday life that this bird enjoys, He flies to phenominal heights and is a fierce hunter. He is intelligent and also beautiful both in flight and at rest.
I think these are all factors which illustrate our country best.

I voted for the Peregrine falcon because it resembles Canada for what we are really like. The falcon is brave, bold and cool.

On l a choisi pour sa rapidité

I like the flacon. Flies well, very fast. The Falcon is our Friend.

A beautiful creature that had to be re-introduced into the wildlife due to human ignorance. They have finally started to show numbers after years of hard work by some amazing people. They are very skilled hunters and if you get to watch one during a kill it is pretty awesome.
They have been many sitings in suburbs over the years with nest being built in ledges of tall buildings.

Because this bird is super fast, it's really cool and they can see a long ways. Ailis, 5 years old

The falcon is the fastist animal in the world,it goes up to 200 MPH.It is a strong bird.This Should be our bird because the bird migrates to lots of places in Canada. It's an amzing bird,and really fast

The peregrine falcon is a raptor. it is the fastest animal on the planet. I think it should be our national bird because it migrates all offer Canada and because it is a strong & beautiful, just like Canada. It can go up to 200 MPH .it is a very majestic & cool bird.

I love Falcons. They are strong And Beautiful

The Peregrine Falcon is fearless, strong and beautiful.

It's the fastest bird on the planet! Power, velocity and grace combined!

Fastest animal on Earth; 'nuff said.


The Peregrine -- a compact, fast and powerful bird is often underestimated, just like Canada. But with it's grace, majesty and resilience this raptor is the perfect choice to represent the Great White North.

The peregrine falcon is symbolic of the strong willed conservation work that we can accomplish in our time of great biodiversity loss. It is a shame that the passenger pigeon (once the most plentiful bird in North America) or great auk (similarly plentiful across the North Atlantic) are no longer among us to be named national bird. Rather we are left with the birds that we have watched dwindle and later save from the brink of extinction. The peregrine is also skillfully adapted to living in the built Canadian environment, soaring across cities and perching atop skyscraper. Its ability to live in its natural cliffside habitat and in urban centres represents what I believe is a modern Canadian attitude to the wilderness. As a nation we are increasingly urbanized, but cherish the great outdoors.

The Peregrine Falcon is a national bird, residing all across our country. It nests in our capital, Ottawa. Fast, swift, elegant, rescued from extinction by the ban on DDT use. A great representative of our country and Canadians.

Canada has the fastest game in the world - hockey. Why not the fastest bird as our National bird!!??

They neared extinction; more aggressive than others

I did not expect to write an essay but peregrines are wonderful majestic birds that can be seen across Canada. They can soar to great heights on powerful wings and without fear plunge to the earth to capture it's prey. They are loyal to their mate and spend a lot of time parenting their young. Many of the qualities, I think, like loyalty, overcoming adverse conditions, make great Canadians.

This is an incredible bird that is truly majestic and symbolizes the strength, speed and majesty of Canada. This would be the ideal bird for Canada.

Rescued from the brink of extinction by dedicated scientists and citizen birdwatchers(like myself and Parks Canada staff), this fearless falcon epitomizes the sharp eye we Canadians have on the pulse of world events and our adaptability to an ever-changing human landscape, as we travel boldly into the 21st century. It truly exemplifies the comportment of a steady and proud sentinel analagous to Canada's role in the global arena. With the exception of the prairies, it can be found across Canada; enduring in often harsh environments and has shown great tenacity in its return to the wild, be that the urban bustle of our busy cities or the quiet cliffs of the maritime provinces.

It's beautiful it's majestic and so is Canada - 'nuff said! :)

Nothing says "Canadian national bird" like a miniature winged dinosaur that can pick its prey out of the sky with razor-sharp claws.

This falcon is a magnificent bird.It is incredibly fast; it is great looking; and it is extremely resilient and adaptable--it can survive either in the country or the city. Like most Canadians, it has a lot going for it.

Fastest animal on earth!

As a bird that is found not only across the country, but in both rural and urban regions, I think the Peregrine would be an excellent and inclusive choice for National Bird. In addition, the history of the fall and subsequent resurrection of this falcon's population is an important reminder to us all, a nation rich in natural resources, of the profound (and sometimes detrimental) effect we can have on ecosystems. However, it also highlights the resilient qualities of nature and speaks to the inherent strength, beauty and diversity of the land that we live in.

The fastest bird in the world, brought back from extinction be the efforts of many wildlife centres, but mostly by Canadians. A truly magnificent bird that epitomizes many of the qualities of the Canadian public.

Strong, Fast Majestic bird, A real survivor!!!!

The peregrine is majestic and cool- the fastest animal on the planet. Plus, being our national bird will aid conservation efforts.

the peregrine falcon is one of the fastes, most impressive birds i have seen in the far northern arctic.
It is the definition of True North. Is a strong, and free raptor.

Peregrine Falcon. The avian version of the Arrow.

Birds that only appear in a few of our provinces should not qualify for a national bird. The Peregrine Falcon, a beautiful and strong bird, appears all across Canada, so all can identify with it.

I love them.

The Peregrine falcon should be our National bird because they represent an ecological success story recovering from the ravages of DDT after it was banned.
They are ubiquitous throughout Canada and are the fastest animal on the planet.
In short they are just plain cool.N7

Speed, beauty, function. The perfect symbiosis. As is our country the symbiosis of many talents and traits.

A magnificent species to represent Canada! Found country wide, & does not currently represent any individual province/territory. I'd be proud to call the Peregrine our National Bird!

I think we should have a national bird, but I also think it should be a bird that no other nation has already accepted as their bird and it shouldn't be one already picked by existing Canadian provinces or territories.

These birds are beautiful and fascinating and their comeback as a species is an inspiring tale of what can happen when we come together for conservation.

Because they are awe inspiring.

I agree with Jenna for the same reasons. Majestic bird, Peregrine means migrants which we are a country of. "Peregrine: Latin Peregrinus, is a name originally meaning "one from abroad", that is, a foreigner, traveller, or pilgrim." We all have telescopic vision and who doesnt remember this from the seventies?

Ah yes the Peregrine falcon.

This is a bird that Canadians can get behind.

It can live in cities and it eats pigeons.

Did I mention it eats pigeons.

Peregrine Falcons are the fastest birds when diving.

The falcon is a majestic bird, flying and dipping, able to catch its prey mid-flight.

Strong and quick

I think that the peregrine falcon should represent Canada because it is the fastest animal on Earth. You can sort of relate, since Canada has evolved quickly like the peregrine falcon.

A great bird, but we should not have a raptor as our national symbol, and it is world-wide in distribution.

Oiseau magnifique dans son apparence et son comportement.

Niche surtout dans le Nord, mais de plus en plus dans le Sud incluant dans les villes.

Oiseau dont la population est en croissance grâce à la protection de l'environnement (élimination du DDT).

One day, I was driving with my daughter down Jameson St. in Toronto. Suddenly, a peregrine falcon swooped across looking awkward and strange. I literally did a double take (while I was driving) and ducked my head to look up and confirm what I was seeing. A falcon with a dead pigeon dangling from it's claws. Pretty awesome to see NATURE alive and well in the bustling city!

A peregrine falcon is an ideal national bird. It looks like the type of bird that would be comfortable standing on a pile of the broken bayonets of our vanquished enemies.

They're simply the greatest - so beautiful

I believe the peregrine falcon should be the national bird of Canada. It is a majestic, well-known bird that encompasses all the habitats of our nation. From forest to prairie, to Arctic and maritime, agricultural and even urban, the peregrine falcon can be found almost anywhere.

They are powerful and fast birds of prey, who hunt their prey out of the sky using steep dives at great speeds. With a name meaning "wanderer," they are an adventurous and strong representation for our country.

They are also a good reminder of how humans impact the environment, and need to take care of those with which we share the Earth. In the 1900's the peregrine falcon was almost pushed to extinction through the use of pesticides such as DDT. However, with bans on the chemicals, they have made a good recovery.

The peregrine falcon is an ideal choice because they are not a current provincial or territorial bird of Canada, nor are they the national bird of any other country.

A falcon would be the best bird for Canada because a) it's a falcon, b) it's a majestic bird and c) it's badass and no one messes with a falcon.

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