The worst bird in North America

The ABA has a lot of contenders for worst bird – American Crow, House Sparrow, Yellow Warbler. Some people hate Brown-headed Cowbirds for their uncanny ability to threaten the populations of the critically endangered Kirtland’s Warbler (one of the ABA’s best birds) among countless other passerine species by laying their eggs in the other’s nest. Personally, I rather like BHCO. I find it fascinating that they’ve evolved the ability to mess with other birds so badly. And let’s be honest, Kirtland’s Warbler wouldn’t be quite so alluring if it wasn’t on the precipice of extinction. A world with an endless supply of Kirtland’s Warblers would be a cruel one indeed.

However, most people agree on one thing. Ask almost any birder, bird watcher, or bird enthusiast what they think of the ever more abundant Peregrine Falcon, and you will hear a number of phrases ranging from “epic” to “freaking awesome” to “they’re cool just because” to “the fastest animal on the planet” to “one of the most impressive and successful conservation initiatives ever in the history of the universe.”

The juvenile Peregrine hot on the heals of the 'Western' Willet and Marbled Godwit. (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

A thug Peregrine harassing some apparently delicious looking willets and godwits. (Photo by Alex Lamoreaux)

Despite its resumé, I have never understood the typical birder’s obsession with Falco peregrinus. A classic article in The Onion entitled “Peregrine Falcon acting pretty cocky since being taken off the endangered species list” pretty much explains it all. Some people refer to Peregrines as an “apex predator,” but in reality PEFA is the bully of the bird world – an arrogant thug that literally gets away with murder on an hourly basis.

To see whether Luke comes around to appreciate the Peregrine or holds strong to his controversial stance, head to his page for the rest of the saga.