American Kestrel photos by Peter Green

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Shortly after moving to Providence, RI, I pointed binoculars at a pigeon perched high on the downtown bank tower and immediately saw it was not a pigeon – it was something eating a pigeon! I looked online, identified it as a peregrine falcon and learned how wildlife officials had installed a nest box on the building to encourage the recovery of this once endangered species. From then on, whenever possible, I eagerly watched the falcons from my window.

I soon began to notice pigeon carcasses downtown with all of their feathers pulled out, and suspected the falcons must be hunting here, so I made sure to always have my camera with me. One day as it started to snow, I finally saw a large raptor standing on the ground in the park next to the bus station. I quickly got down in the dirt and took some of the best pictures of my life. I couldn’t believe this wild animal was right here downtown in the city. And, to my surprise, it was not a peregrine falcon – it was a red-tailed hawk.

After that experience, I was hooked on photographing birds, especially urban raptors. I enjoy going on missions to find and photograph elusive owls and rumored leucistic hawks, and I was especially excited when a young kestrel landed outside my window to have his portrait taken. Thanks to my photography, I've met wonderful people at the Audubon Society of RI and someday hope to train as a licensed raptor rehabilitator. My favorite day of the year is when I join wildlife officials as they band the peregrine falcon eyases - it's the only occasion I get close to the falcons that I can usually only admire from a distance.

I've been honored to have my photography published in The Providence Journal and exhibited in the Washington DC office of Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (RI).

Peter Green