PEFA Goes to School

I have my morning rituals in my early morning work routine. I arrive at least an hour before my students so the campus is peaceful. I plan for the day, make copies, review the day’s math and language arts lessons, correct student work, and do a bit of housekeeping.

There are a few avian routines that are also part of my morning ritual. The first is usually to check the field and backstop for the red-shoulder hawk pair. They are there most mornings, perched on the baseball backstop, helping to rid the field of gophers. I also check the food court for the resident white-crowned sparrows and juncos that scatter to the bushes before my footfalls. When I head out to the teacher’s lounge to make copies, I check the cypress that looms in the back of the school.

I call this tree the Kite Perch because it is frequently topped by a local white- tailed kite. I sometimes find an American crow but this morning I spotted a bird that stood out. Even without my binoculars, I could identify this raptor, but I wanted it to fly to confirm its existence. I was able to take a few far off phone photos in the beautiful morning light.

A phone photo of the Kite Perch. That tiny speck christening the top of the cypress is the avian death angel: the peregrine falcon.

After about five minutes the falcon lit out north, it’s powerful wing beats talking the peregrine in a straight line toward the PEFA Perch near Crystal Springs Road.

This was a great way to start the school day. The only downside was that I was not able to share it with my students.


Peregrine Crossing

“The excitement of seeing a peregrine stoop cannot be defined by the use of statistics.”

J. A. Baker

The Peregrine

On most afternoons I am treated with a sighting of one of the most revered birds in the avian world. A wanderer that is found on every continent with the exception of Antarctica.

On some afternoons I can see the bird perched on the power tower, just to the right of the Crystal Springs Bridge. Or if you are a Bay Area Native, it’s the tower nearest the “Flintsone” house.

But on this early morning the peregrine falcon was extremely close. Just a few yards in front of my car. As I turned east on Bunker Hill Road, crossing over Highway 280, the deadly slate and white bolt crossed within yards of my car. The peregrine was following the river of road on a northern heading toward the peregrine perch along Crystal Springs.

Anytime I see a peregrine is a good omen. This powerful predator was near the brink with about seven pairs in the entire state of California. Now, with the intervention of the species that is the most harmful, the peregrine is no longer on the brink and it can be common enough, that I see one almost every week on my commute.