The Peregrine Falcon

The Peregrine Falcon  pdf format of Peregrine Falcon
, is a great example of a species that has benefited from the Endangered Species Act and the work of the Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program.

Peregrine Falcon fledglings at natural nesting site.
Peregrine Falcon fledglings at natural nesting site. Photo by M. Pelchat.

Prior to the use of DDT, a pesticide once commonly used, there were 375 nesting pairs in the eastern United States.  The last nesting pair in Massachusetts was in 1955 and by 1966 there were no remaining nesting pairs in the eastern United States.  The Peregrine Falcon was listed as Endangered in 1969 under the Endangered Species Conservation Act. DDT was banned in 1972.

After being established by the legislature, Peregrine Falcon restoration became the NHESP’s first new project in the early 1980s. The first successful nesting pair in Massachusetts occurred in 1987 on the Customs House Tower in Boston.  The Peregrine Falcon was removed from the Federal list of Endangered and Threatened Species in 1999. Nests are being monitored and chicks banded. Banding provides data relating to dispersal, longevity and recovery from injuries.  

The NHESP recently changed the status of this species from Endangered to Threatened to reflect the progress that has been made.

The chart below shows the progression of pairs and fledglings from 1987 to 2016.

PEFA Pairs and Fledglings 1987-2016
Falcon Cameras
Several web cams are currently available to the public to witness the Peregrine Falcon breeding season. These cameras are pointed directly at or are within nest boxes and allow an up close live look at nesting pairs and their chicks.  Chicks hatch in early May and leave the nest in mid-June (at about 7 weeks of age).  

Rare Species & Biodiversity: A Natural Heritage Worth Saving

Please allow the Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program to continue to conserve the biodiversity of Massachusetts! Donate to the Natural Heritage Fund or make a contribution for ‘endangered wildlife conservation’ on your state income tax form, as these donations comprise a significant portion of our operating budget.