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Peregrine Falcon Makes Inspiring Recovery From 80% Population Collapse

Peregrine falcon

It seems lately there’s nothing but bad news coming at us in the name of environmentalism and the protection of species, but today we have a story that’s bound to make your heart a little warmer and hopeful for the future.

Back in the 1960s, the survival of the peregrine falcon was seriously threatened as a result of DDT, a harmful pesticide. Peregrine populations dropped as much as 80% throughout Europe and North America, and were even exterminated in the eastern United States.

In 1967, the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) was founded and immediately tackled the growing DDT problem. The organization filed lawsuits in Washington DC, New York, Wisconsin, and Michigan, with dozens of health and insect specialists testifying in hearings. In 1972, a ban on DDT in America was implemented by William Ruckelshaus, the first administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The birds have reached a full recovery from their mid-century population collapse. And now, the EDF even has a miraculous video and story of a mother peregrine falcon feeding her four chicks, hatched at the end of March on top of the organization’s building in San Francisco.

You can view the “Nest Cam” here. The UC Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group manages it and documents this adorably heart-warming environmental success story. The birds have even been removed from the US Fish and Wildlife Service list of threatened and endangered species.

If you don’t know much about the peregrine falcon, they’re a pretty fascinating bird. Their flight speed of 200 miles per hour makes them the fastest creature on the planet, and they typically nest on cliffs, but can also nest on top of buildings in the city. City life for these falcons provides them with a plentiful food source of pigeons (and I’m sure no city dwellers will complain about that), and protects them from the great horned owl, their biggest predator.

Next time you find yourself thinking there’s absolutely no hope for the future of the Earth because of what we are doing to it, just remember the plight of the peregrine falcon. Recovery is possible. There is hope.

Image CC licensed by Paul Sullivan: peregrine falcon, California

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