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Meet Loa the peregrine falcon with his handler Bjarne in a zoo in Sweden. Loa is born in captivity in Denmark and came to Sweden this winter. The zoo shows Nordic fauna.
Loa weighs 600 grammes and is quite a bit smaller than I expected. According to wikipedia the male is the size of a crow and the female the size of a raven. And Loa is indeed the size of a crow. In the 1950s to the 1980s the peregrine falcon was nearly extinct in the Swedish fauna as the eggs were so thin due to DDT poisoning that they broke when the parents tried to hatch them. I used to send money to the project that aimed to save them in the Swedish fauna but this was the first time I ever seen the bird. It is listed as a vulnerable species in Sweden.
The peregrine falcon can fly at speeds up to 320 kilometers an hour and hunts birds in the air. Loa´s handler Bjarne said it was not possible for the peregrine falcon to catch animals on the ground at such speeds as they would then have collided with the ground. So they hunt other birds up to the size of ducks.
The pictures above shows Loa and Bjarne at the raptor display in the summer of 2014. Loa has a traditional falconeer’s hood, jesses, a bell, and a transmitter and he sits on a falconeer’s gauntlet at the beginning of the show and later Bjarne is swinging the lure. Loa flies by real fast and quite close the spectators cleverly avoiding to collide with anyone or anything.
There was a second bird shown after Loa, a sweet little common kestrel by the name of Hiiri. I hope to write about Hiiri in my next posting.
Many thanks to my children for a lovely day!