Sunday, April 19, 2009

Falconry and Robert Kennedy Jr.

Few know that Robert 'Bobby' Kennedy is a practicing falconer.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Some peregrine trapping history

The following link has some fascinating comments about the history of trapping the 'beach' peregrines.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

De-Listing Meeting in Tallahassee, 4/15/09

The meeting went well. There will be no passage take in the fall of 2009. But, the peregrine will be de-listed in Florida. A management plan which includes a fall take of peregrines by falconers will be developed.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Peregrine Decline and Recovery Timeline

Peregrine Falcon Timeline:

>>> 1947 - DDT introduced for use as a pesticide in the U.S.
>>> 1962 – ‘Silent Spring’ by Rachel Carson is published
>>> 1970 - Two of the three subspecies of peregrine falcon (American and Arctic) are classified as endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1969
>>>1972 - The Environmental Protection Agency outlaws DDT as a pesticide due to its link to the thinning of eggshells in peregrines and other raptors; greatly reducing hatching success.
>>>1975 - Survey indicated only 324 nesting pairs exist in North America, compared to approximately 3,875 prior to DDT usage.
>>>Between 1980-1990, the number of known pairs on territories in North America tripled from 499 to 1540.
>>>In the western U.S., 2,722 peregrines were released from 1974 to 1994.
>>>1994 - Arctic peregrine falcon is de-listed due to recovery.
>>>1999 - American peregrine falcon is de-listed due recovery.
>>>One of the most successful species recoveries in the world.
>>>DDT continues to be used in many Latin American countries where some peregrine falcons and their prey migrate to in the winter.

Peregrine Breeding History Timeline

I think it is important to point out that if it were not for the visionary leadership and contributions of falconers along with their sacrifice and hard work, none of the release programs would have been possible. In addition, all the large peregrine (and most successful) release projects were founded and managed by falconers, the Peregrine Fund being the largest of them all. FYI: The Peregrine Fund has a consistent high rating by

Here is the story behind the breeding of peregrines in captivity. In 1967 the most famous falconer of the 20th century, Frank Beebe, managed to be the first to breed a pair of peregrines in captivity in North America (Hawk Chalk, 1967 April & August issues). The following year, David Hancock and Larry Schramm - both having been falconers - also were successful in breeding peregrines (North American Falconers' Association (NAFA) Journal 1968). Frank Beebe and David Hancock instructed Professor Heinz Meng – Ph,D in ornithology as well as being a falconer - of New Paltz, NY, how to breed peregrines. He was successful as well and he taught Dr. Tom Cade - also a falconer as well as founder of the Peregrine Fund - how to breed them in captivity. Dr. Cade led the charge in releasing peregrines and instructed other falconers in breeding peregrines. These falconers then initiated new organizations for release of peregrines such as the Predatory Bird Research Group, Santa Cruz, CA; led by the late falconer Brian Walton, who started the project with his own monies. The Raptor Center at the Univ. of Minnesota, By Dr. Pat Redig, DVM, Ph.D. -- also a falconer. This is the chain of events that has led us to this moment in time where the peregrine is being considered for delisting in Florida, which also has occurred in several other States.

Falconers did not play a minor role in the recovery of peregrines; they were the leaders, and the primary players in the success of the recovery of the peregrine. No other interest group comes even remotely close to what falconers did for this species. Of course there were many volunteers who helped yet were not falconers, but they merely assisted falconers - they didn't lead the way. Therefore, it becomes evident that no other interest group has more at stake or has a greater concern or interest in the maintenance of a healthy population of peregrines. I feel that the Management Plan needs to reflect this fact so that interests groups opposed to falconers, might better understand the debt this country owes to falconers. Perhaps if they knew the truth, maybe they would express appreciation to this dedicated group of outdoor enthusiasts rather than opposing this sport. It demonstrates that user groups have far more to lose than groups that have incidental interests, such as the birding community.

A good article to read about Dr. Tom Cade and his recovery efforts can be found in "Peregrines Fly Out of Peril" Cornell Focus, Vol. 8, No. 1, 1999. For access to Hawk Chalk and the NAFA Journal, please contact The Archives of Falconry at

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Study Showing that Falconry Techniques Improve Survival of Raptors

This is an important reference to use to counter the anti-falconry crowd:
From the Journal of Avian Medicine & Surgery, March, 2006.