Friday, April 5, 2013

Where DC Commuters Can See Peregrine Falcons

Peregrine falcons are the world's fastest animal.  WORLD'S FASTEST ANIMAL.  They're amazing creatures, but I bet none of my sleep-eyed compatriots riding the early morning Metro between Pentagon and L'Enfant Plaza know that these birds can be seen almost every morning.

Between Pentagon and L'Enfant Plaza stations, the Metro goes above ground and crosses the Potomac on a bridge.  It can be a dazzling moment for groggy passengers - bursting from the dark tunnel into a city sunrise over the river.  It's good birding, too, with gulls and geese and ducks and what-have-yous.  There are also, often, Peregrine Falcons, if you know where to look.  Metro passengers looking downriver can often spot a bird sitting on the railroad trestle, usually at one of four spots: the edge of the VA side, the two edges of the middle section, and the edge of the DC side.  Here are some maps (click to enlarge):


It may not be the greatest look in the world, but the hunched posture and sleek shape of the falcon are usually clear.  Living in DC it's easy to feel completely separate from the natural world, but these falcons are a daily reminder that we're not as far away as it seems.


  1. I saw an incredibly beautiful raptor on the chrome sculpture outside the Air and Space Museum on Nov. 8, 2013
    I think it may be a young peregrine falcon - I have a photo

  2. Spot on. I've seen peregrines on the 14th street all winter.

  3. I think I saw one on 10th, btwn Constitution and Pennsylvania NW a few days ago. It razed my head then went up in the tree.

  4. Just spotted one by the boathouse in front of the Watergate apartments, and it flew over to Roosevelt Island. I think there's a mate over there too.