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Endangered Peregrine Falcon Makes Remarkable Recovery


The fastest flying bird on earth, the Peregrine Falcon, includes the Siskiyou Crest Region and its craggy cliffs as home, as well as living and breeding on every continent of the world except Antarctica. Nesting pairs have been seen in the Whiskey Peak and Collings-Kinney Roadless areas of the Crest Region.

As the fastest member of the animal kingdom and one of the most aggressive raptors, the Peregrine is at the top of its food chain. Reaching speeds of 240 mph, it catches small and medium-sized birds in mid-air.  Peregrines sometimes appropriate Golden eagle nests and steal fish from Ospreys.

Ravished by the pesticide DDT in the mid-1900s, the falcon disappeared from the Eastern United States and large portions of the West.  The U.S. Department of Interior listed the falcon as endangered in 1970. After the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency banned the use of DDT in 1972, and supported by large-scale protection of nesting places and releases to the wild, the Peregrines have made a remarkable recovery, although numbers remain low. 

The saving of the falcon is seen as a significant example of Endangered Species Act effectiveness. 

Sources: "III. Siskiyou Mountains Area." Rogue River - Siskiyou National Forest. U.S. Forest Service, Web. 16 Jan. 2004. http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5317318.pdf; Ruediger, Luke. The Siskiyou Crest, Hikes, History, & Ecology. Luke Ruediger, 2013. Print; "Oregon Wildlife Species." Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. State of Oregon, 25 May 2014. Web. 16 May 2015. .

Shockey has been a long-time JPR contributor and enjoys supporting the Southern Oregon Historical Society and JPR by digging up regional stories.