I illustrated this recent offering by the Royal Canadian Mint (pictured above) that shows a Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus), the world’s most widespread bird of prey.
The Peregrine’s primary prey is medium-size birds which it catches in mid-air. The Peregrine does this by searching for a target from high above the ground; once the target is identified, the Peregrine plunges down to the target and hits it just right (about one time out of ten!). This fast flight, called a stoop, is when the peregrine is the fastest animal on the planet (over 325 kph). The Peregrine becomes a streamlined teardrop shape when it performs this dive.
When the Peregrine falcon approaches its target at the end of the stoop, it throws its wings out and back and swings its legs out in front of its body so the feet are far forward. It does this so fast it is really only possible to see it by slowing down a video, and even then it’s tough to see it clearly.
My illustration show a Peregrine that – most likely – is just about to land, though it is possible the bird is in attack mode; the exact position of a Peregrine Falcon’s mid-air attack varies each time and occasionally the Peregrine takes prey from the ground or surface of water.
The Royal Canadian Mint is offering two different coins with this design; the one pictured above, a 38 mm Fine Silver coin with a proof finish, and a silver bullion coin pictured below. Even with my amateur photography you can see that the finishes are quite different.