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Falcons soar at Snoqualmie Falls

 A juvenile peregrine falcon perches at Snoqualmie Falls. A family of peregrines has made a home and hatched chicks at the falls for the past five years. Soon, Puget Sound Energy will build a new peregrine-themed viewpoint at the overlook. - Photo by Scott Dodson
A juvenile peregrine falcon perches at Snoqualmie Falls. A family of peregrines has made a home and hatched chicks at the falls for the past five years. Soon, Puget Sound Energy will build a new peregrine-themed viewpoint at the overlook.
— image credit: Photo by Scott Dodson

Scott Dodson scanned the rock walls flanking Snoqualmie Falls, then quickly sighted his quarry: an adult female peregrine falcon.

The bird of prey was perched on the rocky cliff below the Salish Lodge, scanning the gorge below.

On the other side of the falls, the female’s mate, a smaller male, also kept vigil, head turning and watchful eyes panning from the top of a dead tree.

It took Dodson moments to spot where the birds were in a recent visit to the Falls park. An amateur photographer, he’s watched the falcons for five years.

“Every time I want to go out to and do something in the Snoqualmie Valley, it’s hard for me to go someplace else, and not to go here and see the peregrine falcons,” Dodson said.

Fascinated by the birds, Dodson carries a spotting scope, binoculars, digital camera and a video recorder. He’s put up photos of the pair, and their young, on his Web site. Dodson has watched them hatch 16 offspring in the last five years.

“They’re the world’s fastest animal,” he said. “Their behavior is pretty unique.”

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