21 May 2019


The Peregrine falcon is a wide-ranging species and a seasonal migrator, but the Sonoran desert is one place it breeds and calls home all year round. I have some nesting near my office, and at break time in the back when the wind is flowing over the Tucson Mountains, one of them might kite slow and low over me to take a look. Then there's that sound effect Hollywood is so fond of.

Out in the desert, circling in long slow arcs among rock towers and dodging dust devils, birds have a different spacial reality than we do — especially the strong fliers of the predatory world. Looking up at them, we're like the bottom feeders of the sky sea.

In this piece, I was thinking about the layers of air being like floors in a multistory building. I see birds cruising for prey, but sometimes I see them way up there on the top floor, far beyond hunting zones, watching the curvature of the earth and soaring smoothly on thermals.

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