Peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus) are found throughout the world (except Antarctica) and have been very popular throughout history. They were prized during medieval times for their hunting prowess in the sport of Falconry. They continue to capture the fascination of many people due to their flight skills, hunting ability, and mystique.
In the United States, Peregrine falcon populations declined sharply between the 1940s and 1960s due to the widespread use of the pesticide DDT and several other factors. DDT was most damaging to peregrine reproduction due to egg-shell thinning, egg breakage, and hatching failure. DDT was banned (1972), but the peregrine was placed on the endangered species list in 1973.
Reintroduction and Recovery
Surveys done in the late 1970s found no occupied peregrine nest sites in Idaho, Montana, or Wyoming. Reintroduction efforts in these states began when the Peregrine Fund released 11 juveniles at three sites in the Jackson Hole area in 1980, and 4 juveniles in the Centennial Valley of Montana in 1981.
By the late 1980s nearly 100 pergerines had been released in Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. By 1994, 28 had been released at Bighorn Canyon.
In Bighorn Canyon
Strikes: Usually in mid-air, knocking the quarry to the ground. Less commonly, it will strike and grab prey and fly away.
Nesting: Mostly on precipitous cliffs, but will also nest under suspension bridges and atop tall city buildings. Eggs are laid on a sand- or gravel-covered ledge with a depression that has been scratched in preparation for the clutch. This area is called a scrape.
(Sources: include Greater Yellowstone Science Center Factsheet)
Did You Know?
Prior to the completion of Yellowtail Dam, the Bighorn River was a muddy, warm water prairie stream. The dam transformed the river into a cold, clear tailwater ideally suited to rainbow and brown trout, and aquatic insects. The Bighorn River now draws visitors and anglers from around the globe. More...