When discussing the falcon, most would associate this bird of prey with traits such as freedom, strength, valor, focus, hope and new opportunity and determination. This majestic creature has long flown the skies striking fear into small animals as they rarely miss their target when they are focused. These birds are extremely intelligent and are able to accurately judge time and distance to swoop in on their prey for a meal. These birds have an eye for hunting. So much so that they have been used for many years to aid hunters on their quests for prey.
Therefore, it is understandable that so many people are fans of the falcon and what it represents. It’s even represented in the National Football League by the Atlanta Falcons. The falcon’s traits have led many to have this bird tattooed onto their body. Such a powerful symbol will always strike up a conversation and draw the eyes of onlookers. All classes of society respect what this bird represents and that’s why it is a popular animal to be inked.
However, not all falcons are how they are depicted in the movies and tv shows. Some are a little smaller and more delicate. One thing they all have in common is they are fine hunters. The are at minimum, eight different species of falcon. Let us take a look at a few of the more well-known types of falcons so we can get a sense as to why so many love the falcon tattoo.
The American Kestrel is the smallest falcon in North America. These slender falcons are around the size of a dove. It differs in that the kestrel has a larger head and beak. In addition, they have longer wings and tail that are squared off. In color, they vary between genders but the males have a blueish color on their heads and wings while the rest of their body is a rust red making the American Kestrel one of the most beautiful birds out there. The female is very similar but has much more of the rust color. You’ll find these wonderful little falcons in a variety of climates ranging from the southern most tip of South American all the way north to Alaska.
The American Kestrel hunts in the same way other falcons do. They spot their prey and swoop down on them off the ground. Some of them are able to snatch their prey out of mid air as well. Because of their slight stature, they pump their tails when perched to keep their balance.
One fact about the American Kestrel is because of their size, they end up being food for some of their own species and birds like Cooper’s Hawks and Red-tailed Hawks.
The Gyrfalcon is the largest falcon of all. The have large wings and a body that is strong and powerful. This is even more evident in the females which are much larger than males. These birds have a beautiful color pattern and it’s almost ghostly. This white bird with black spotting blends in with it’s surroundings as it’s native to the arctic. They’ll fly south for the winter but only as far south as the northern section of the United States.
The Gyrfalcon primarily eats Willow Ptarmigan and Rock Ptarmigan. However, these masters of the sky have also been known to feed on other birds like shorebirds, waterfowl, songbirds and pheasants. Even Owls, falcons and ravens aren’t safe from the Gyrfalcon. They aren’t known for snatching their prey out of the air, but they’ll grasp their prey and drive them into the ground.
Of all falcon tattoos, you will probably notice one of the most well-known species tattooed. This is the Peregrine Falcon. This majestic bird is one of the largest falcons of its species. They have long pointed wings and a long tail as well. The Peregrine Falcon usually eats other birds and they are not picky when they hunt. The Peregrine Falcon has been known to eat up to 450 different North American bird species. Because of their wits and agility, they can snatch a hummingbird out of mid air and take down a bird as big as a Sandhill Crane. They’ll even steal food from other raptors including rodents and fish.
The Peregrine Falcon is a very strong flier and some have reported these birds are the fastest in the world. They will cruise around the sky at an average speed of 24 to 33 mph but can reach speeds of up to 67 mph when in pursuit of their meal. However, when in a dive on approach to it’s prey, the Peregrine Falcon can reach speeds of over 200 mph. They can spot their prey from 3,000 feet above and will either grab their victim or will strike so hard they’ll either kill or stun.
As mentioned before, Peregrine Falcons have been trained to hunt with people and this has been done for over 1,000 years. This bird inhabits almost all continents so with its widespread existence and its intelligence, the Peregrine will most likely always be a popular choice to assist people on hunting expeditions.
These are just a few examples of some of the most popular kinds of species of falcon. One can see why these birds are such a popular choice to be tattooed. Their strength, intelligence and veracity are all characteristics we hope to see in ourselves. By getting a falcon tattoo, we can remind ourselves of what we’re capable of and what we should strive to be. You’ll even see members of our military sporting falcon tattoos because of their symbolism.
Whether their perched stoically on a cliff or in mid-flight on their way to taking their next meal down, the falcon will forever be a symbol of strength and freedom.
We hope by reading this and taking a look at some of the example tattoos below, we can help you decide on your next falcon tattoo. If you have any questions, please reach out to us and ask. We’re happy to help.