Peregrine falcon passes prey in mid-air to teach juvenile how to hunt

Catch that pigeon! Adult peregrine falcon passes prey to its young in mid-air as it teaches juvenile how to hunt

  • Falcon teaches the bird to catch prey mid air which is a valuable survival skill
  • Wildlife photographer Jack Barnes, 24, from Surrey, captured the food pass
  • Pictures were taken on a beach in Sussex and Mr Barnes visits the site every year 

Amazing photos show an adult falcon passing food mid-air to teach a juvenile bird how to catch its prey. 

The adult falcon teaches the bird to catch its prey in the air, which is a valuable skill the birds need to survive.  

Wildlife photographer Jack Barnes, 24, from Surrey, captured the aerial food pass. The pictures were taken on a beach in Sussex. 

He visits the site every year to watch this behaviour after the chicks leave the nest and learn to fly. 

The adult female Peregrine caught a Pigeon and flew back to the beach carrying the prey to teach the juvenile how to catch prey in the air


Wildlife photographer Jack Barnes, 24, from Surrey, captured the aerial food pass. Catching prey in the air is a valuable skill which the birds need to survive

He said: ‘The photo of both the birds locked onto the prey almost having a tug of war.

‘These photos show what is called a “food pass” – once the juveniles have learnt to fly and have been flying for a week or two, the adults change their feeding methods.’

To encourage the juveniles to catch their own prey in the air, the adult Peregrines fly around catching prey and force juveniles to fly and grab it off them in mid air. 

The adult female Peregrine caught a Pigeon and flew back to the beach carrying the prey. 

This encouraged the juvenile to fly up, meet its parent and swoop in to take the pigeon from the adult female. 

The juvenile then flew back to the cliffs to eat its prey. 

The adult encourages the juvenile to fly up, meet its parent and swoop in to capture the pigeon in the air 

Mr Barnes said: ‘The photo of both the birds locked onto the prey almost having a tug of war’

Mr Barnes said: ‘This behaviour gets the juveniles used to catching things in the air and prepares them for their future as master hunters. 

‘As a wildlife photographer this is the best site I know in the UK for watching and photographing Peregrines. 

‘It is an ideal chance to observe these birds at close range without disturbing them and provides some unique photo opportunities. 

‘It is amazing to see the young birds develop from small fluffy chicks, into the fastest animal on the planet and a deadly hunter is a real treat.’  

When they’re diving for prey, peregrine falcons can reach more than 200 miles an hour and are the fastest diving birds. 

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