A bird must fly fast enough to make his living. The handsome purple martin dines on flies, moths and bees and he must fly faster than they do or he would never catch his dinner. A bird must also be fast enough to fly out of danger. The blue Jay must be fast enough to escape a prowling cat.
The fastest flier of the small everyday birds is the swift. Some experts claim that one of his cousins is the fastest flying bird in he whole world. The swift catches flies and mosquitoes as he flies through the air and he must be faster than they are. Some experts say that other birds have a good reason for flying even faster than the speedy swift.
Hawks, eagles and falcons are birds of prey which feed upon other birds. So they must be able to fly faster than most other birds in order to make a living. These hunters of the bird world can fly twice as fast as a crow or blue Jay going at top speed.
Most experts agree that the duck hawk is the champion flier of the bird world. He is a handsome, speckled fellow with curved claws, a strong hooked beak and scowling expression. The duck hawk and his relatives live over most of the world and in England he is called the peregrine falcon. There his ancestors were famous.
In the past, hawks and falcons were trained to hunt and bring back game birds to their masters.
The champ, of course, was our duck hawk, most likely the fastest bird in the world. In the days when knights in armor rode out to battle, he was called the noble falcon. we call him the duck hawk because he hunts wild ducks and geese who can fly at 70 miles an hour but the duck hawk can fly more than twice as fast. Experts clock the speed of a bird with stop watches, cars and planes. The job is not easy ,end we cannot always be sure of the figures, Some claim that the dainty swift can fly 200 miles per hour, but this may be an exaggeration. We know for sure that a duck hawk can swoop at 180 miles an hour and maybe faster.
Many eagles, hawks and falcons can fly at 120 miles an hour. If they had to obey our traffic laws, we would have to lock them up and throw away the keys, Even the little hummingbird can fly at 55 miles an hour fast enough to get arrested for speeding in a built up area.