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Falcons have a narrow pointed wing, and a fairly narrow tail. The wing beat you have described could be anytype of raptor. I have seen the small falcons known in America as American Kestrels or sparrow hawks hoover in that manner. I have sent Red Tail Hawks, and Harrier Hawks hover in the same manner.

The falcon in America that is only slightly larger than a pigeon is called a Merlin or pigeon hawk. They have been known to take pigeons, but their small size doesn't make them particularly good at pigeon hunting.

The falcons in the US that cause most of the problems are the Peregrine, and Prairie Falcons. They are larger birds.

The reason your friend says the come in winter is not because the is when they breed. A lot of America is free of falcons during summer, but these are migratory birds that show up in the southern US in winter. As their numbers increase here and they find sources for pigeons like fanciers flocks they have started to stay in the southern areas year round.
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