The Falcon

Yesterday I ventured up to the 54th floor roof-top terrace of a friend’s condo at 1 Central Park, NYC. As I stepped out into the bitter sky with 360° degree views of New York, I was greeted by a huge noble bird perched on one of the corners. As I drew
steadily closer, snapping pictures with my iPhone, the creature never flinched but stared at me with round yellow circled eyes and arched yellow beak. He was grey of wing with dappled white and grey breast. Clearly a bird of prey, he had long orange claws. He was about 20 inches tall and appeared to be quite plump.

Soon we were just a couple of feet apart. Separated by only a shoulder high panel of glass, it was I who started to feel uneasy. Clearly I was out of my realm. Up so high in the air there was complete silence, no city din or drone, just quiet. I stopped snapping and we just stared at each other for several long minutes. Then, in the blink of an eye he was gone. Vanished without a trace in the sky.

I was captivated. It turns out that he is one of only about 36 Peregrine Falcons that inhabit the tall bridges and buildings of NYC. After becoming extinct on the NorthAtlantic coast in the 60’s and 70’s due to DDT and other pesticide use, a group of dedicated ornithologists bred them in captivity in upstate New York and reintroduced them to the wild in the early 90’s. How and why they migrated to urban areas is a mystery of adaptation.

The Peregrine Falcon is the fastest creature on earth. Achieving speeds of over 200mph, they swoop down upon their prey, other birds on the wing, and snatch them up with fearsome claws. They are patient but aggressive and sure sighted. Sports teams are often named ’Falcons’.

Peregrine Falcons mate for life and can live twenty years. They do not build nests but lay eggs on flat surfaces atop tall structures such as the Brooklyn and Verrazano Bridges, the Empire State Building, and Trump Tower International.
The Falcon is an emblem for success, victory and rising above a situation. In ancient Egypt the falcon was symbolic of the rising sun and was known as the king of birds. Kings were depicted with falcon heads gifted with speed of forethought, focus and determination.

In animal totem religion systems it is said that if you see a falcon in a dream, opportunity is near. If a Peregrine Falcon comes into your waking life, opportunity is imminent. Be prepared.