Flying at over 200 miles per hour, a Peregrine falcon is considered the fastest bird in North America. It made a lot of sense, then, to name one particular Cleveland-based Peregrine falcon “Millennium.” This literal, real-life Millennium Falcon is giving Han Solo’s famous fictional starship from Star Wars a run for its money.
On Friday, the Twitter account for the Ralph Perkins II Wildlife Center and Woods Garden in Cleveland, Ohio introduced Millennium to the internet. In Star Wars, Han said that this Millennium Falcon “may not look like much,” but “has it where it counts.” The real-life falcon named Millennium, however, looks great.
Like many Peregrine falcons in North America, Millennium is part of a resurgence of a stabilizing population. In the 1970s, Peregrine falcons were in danger of extinction in North America as a result of dangerous pesticide use. According to the Audubon Society, contemporary Peregrine falcons like Millennium have been slowly recovering in parts of North America in the 21st century.
The top speed achieved by these birds mostly comes from their crazy-fast diving abilities. Peregrine falcons are birds of prey and, as such, probably have the fastest attack of any other living bird in the western hemisphere. Other than the golden eagle, the Peregrine falcon is sometimes thought to be the fastest bird in the world.
Han Solo’s modified YT-1300 space freighter — the Millennium Falcon — could supposedly make “.5 past light speed.” It also achieved the Kessel Run “in 12 parsecs,” a phrase that has continued to confound real scientists since 1977 because a parsec is generally a measurement of distance and not speed. Of the two Millennium falcons currently in existence, the one found in the Cleveland Wildlife Center is probably more reliable. Plus, unlike Han Solo and Chewbacca, this bird isn’t deeply in debt with intergalactic crime lords.
After an outpouring of support for Millennium on Friday, the Cleveland Wildlife Center thanked its followers for all the support, dubbing him the “fastest bird in the galaxy.” With luck, any of Millennium’s offspring will turn out better than Kylo Ren.Photos via National Geographic, giphy