[Tweeters] Flight Morphs

Jeff Gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Sat Jun 18 21:09:19 PDT 2016

A few years ago I posted on witnessing a flight morph in a Peregrine Falcon - a change of flight form.
That was in the north end of Everett, when I lived there, in a Peregrine rich neighborhood. Saw them a lot. One day I watched a Peregrine soaring like a buteo on the bluff updrafts, when suddenly this sorta "soft"- looking soaring form instantly morphed into a sharp-edged fighter jet that rocketed down to the mudflats below at an incredible speed. Look out shorebirds. Amazing.
Well, yesterday I was down at the Marine Science Center pier for my weekly aquarium fix, when I spotted a soaring Peregrine circling over the pier. I've only seen a few Peregrines here in Port Townsend in my past several years in PT. I imagined it was scoping out pier regulars , the local Rock Pigeons, which nest under the pier, and are the most common "shorebird" on the nearby sandy beach.
As I walked out the pier to shore, a sharp-edged bird zoomed in from the bluffs above at high speed. It was sharp-edged and seemed sort of small. Maybe my mind was warped slightly from seeing the Peregrine, but my first impression was that it was a Merlin.
But no, it was "just" a pigeon, in zippy mode - all sharpened up, and really booking it. It has always seemed to me that the Rock Pigeon is one of our most diverse fliers - morphing from such a sharp falcon-like mode, to softer flapping, or doing a tottering glide with wings held up in a high dihedral , etc. I love the good ol' Pigeon. Here's a Pigeon Poem I like:
"The Pigeon has swallowed a fountain! Listen!"
(from Braided Creek: a Conversation in Poetry by Jim Harrison and Ted Kooser)
If you've ever heard a Pigeon at close range, you probably get it.
Jeff GibsonHawks and Doves DepartmentPort Townsend Wa

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