The Nature of Things·Video

Learning to jump off a skyscraper takes nerve, even for the world's fastest fliers

Peregrine falcons have found a home in Canada’s biggest city, but navigating the high winds takes some practice.

Peregrine falcons have found a home in Canada’s biggest city, but navigating the high winds takes practice

Learning to jump off a skyscraper takes nerve - Wild Canadian Weather

The Nature of Things

3 months ago
7:17
Peregrine falcons have found a home in Canada’s biggest city, but navigating the high winds takes some practice. 7:17

The world's fastest animal was once on the brink of extinction. Peregrine falcons were nearly wiped out due to the widespread use of the pesticide DDT in the 20th century. Today, they are soaring back and have found a home in an unusual place: high atop the skyscrapers of Toronto. 

Peregrines are capable of reaching speeds over 300 km/h in the air. They are masters of flight, but it takes a lot of practice, and growing up in one of Canada's windiest cities can create a steep learning curve for young falcons.

As air currents are funnelled between skyscraper "canyons," the wind can be nine times faster than outside the city. High above ground, these high winds create opportunities for adult peregrines to hunt, but for their chicks, the first flight can be the most dangerous moment of their life.

More than 60 per cent of urban falcons die from colliding with buildings, so working up the courage to take their first leap can take some time and a little encouragement from mom and dad. 

Watch the video above for the full story.

Watch Wild Canadian Weather for more stories.

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