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Catch Me If You Can

April 5, 2006

The peregrine falcon is the fastest animal on the planet. Their horizontal flying speed can reach up to 55 miles per hour (mph) — not bad, but not exactly cheetah-like.

Flying downward? Try 200 mph. Yes, Lamborghini speed.

(photo: Joe Kosack / PGC Photo)

Incidentally, peregrine falcons are female. They're larger and more powerful than the males, which are called peregrine tiercels. (Tiercel means "third," because the males are about one-third smaller than the females.)

Some peregrines are migratory birds, so in the time between this and the last post a month ago, one such peregrine — flying at cruising speed, eight hours a day, six days a week — could have flown all the way around the world.

Well, that is if they had rest stops in the middle of the ocean.

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