Peregrines can reach incredible speeds, traveling at around 50-60 mph in regular flight and exceeding 200 mph during their hunting stoop (the fastest recorded speed is 242 mph!), making them one of the fastest members of the animal kingdom. They have many physical adaptations to aid their performance at these incredible speeds, including convex nostril cones to break up high-pressure airflow and a notched beak that can break its prey’s neck on impact. The peregrine has also developed a unique hunting strategy that differs from most raptors—these birds have incredibly long toes and ball their feet into a fist, essentially punching their prey while in midair. Once on the verge of extinction due to the use of DDT (which thinned their eggs shells, making them unable to rear young), the peregrine has made a remarkable recovery thanks to captive breeding programs and protective legislation. They have adapted very successfully to urban environments, where they nest on tall buildings and feed on pigeons. Some falconers have even made it a business to clear airways of plane damaging flocks of birds by releasing trained falcons to scare them off.