New respect for flying rats

Yesterday on my walk I noticed an explosion of pigeon feathers on the lawn of the Ellipse. It wasn’t gory, but it was impressive. Definitely a whole pigeon’s worth. “Huh,” thought I, “I wonder what’s hunting the pigeons?” Red-tail hawk was my first thought. Then mere minutes later as I was crossing the Washington Monument grounds, I had my answer: Two birds came haring into my field of vision, right on top of each other, flying all rickety in what looked like close formation, until one veered off suddenly to safety among a little copse of (I think) old cherry trees, and the other swooped up to take a scanning perch on a much taller tree at the edge of the lawn. Not a red-tail; a peregrine falcon. Very pointy. Wings almost like a seagull at first glance. Knowing that a pigeon can outmaneuver a peregrine in (pretty much) level flight gives me new respect for pigeons.