Thursday, April 16, 2009

One Step Closer

I spoke at a FWC commission meeting yesterday when a draft management plan was presented to FWC commissioners. The draft plan was approved by the commissioners with very little input. A final plan will now be drafted and hopefully approved at the June meeting.

I hope we'll be trapping peregrines in 2010.

For immediate release: April 15, 2009Contact:
Patricia Behnke, 850-251-2130

The world’s fastest bird is also resilient

The peregrine falcon is famous for its steep downward plunge, and that’s exactly what its population did during the past century when DDT usage in the United States nearly wiped them out. However, when the peregrine dives, it also rises with its prey, and that’s what has happened to its numbers in recent years. To keep those numbers soaring, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) directed staff to finalize a management plan for peregrine falcons Wednesday at the Commission meeting in Tallahassee.

The FWC decided in June 2008 to remove the peregrine falcon from the state’s endangered species list. However, before delisting can occur, the Commission must approve a management plan. The final plan will come before the Commission for approval at the June meeting in Crystal River. The Commission also directed staff to bring a rule for delisting the species to the June meeting as well. “The peregrine falcon is a success story showing what wise conservation practices can accomplish for a species,” said Robin Boughton, the FWC’s peregrine falcon management plan leader. “This draft plan offers management strategies for the peregrine’s continued success.”

As a result of pesticide regulations and captive breeding-and-release efforts, the peregrine falcon made a dramatic comeback from precipitously low numbers in the 1970s. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service delisted the species in 1999. Peregrine populations dropped from about 20,000 birds prior to the 1940s to 650 birds in 1965. Of the two subspecies of peregrine falcon that breed in the United States, there are now at least 1,900 breeding pairs.

The peregrine is known as the world’s fastest bird, averaging 25-34 mph during normal flight and reaching speeds in excess of 150 mph during dives for prey, which include doves and ducks.