The peregrine falcon has had a miraculous, unlikely comeback from the brink of extinction. Keep reading to learn more about this interesting bird!
Did You Know The Peregrine Falcon Is The Fastest Animal On The Planet?
These falcons are intimidating hunters that prey on other birds and bats in mid-flight. Peregrines hunt from above, and after sighting their prey they drop into a steep, swift dive that can top 300 km/h, making them the fastest animal on the planet!
Peregrine falcons live on all continents except Antarctica. You can find them in several major Australian cities, nesting on ledges of skyscrapers. They can often be seen soaring above busy city streets, and their harsh chattering calls may be heard a hundred metres below.
Preferring wide-open spaces, they can be found everywhere from tundra to deserts. The peregrine falcon species was almost wiped out 30 years ago, due to pesticide poisoning and persecution.
How Did The Peregrine Falcon Nearly Become Extinct?
Field ornithologist, Ian Falkenberg — who has been documenting peregrines for 40 years, said pesticides widely used by farmers between the 1960s and 1980s almost wiped out the apex predator.
"Those chemicals started to accumulate in the food that they eat… they consume small amounts over time which means that they get a very large dose over a long time." he said. Poisonous chemicals like DDT, which were largely used in agriculture, caused the falcons to lay thinner eggs, resulting in a dramatic decline in chick hatchings.
Falkenberg said that it caused a 28 per cent decrease in eggshell thinning and basically an egg won't hatch if it's at 25 per cent.
The Peregrine Falcon Has Adapted Better To City-Life Than Any Other Native Animal!
This decline in the peregrine falcon population activated bans across Australia on the use of certain deadly pesticides in the late 1980s. Now, after almost being extinct, experts believe there may be more peregrines now than ever before! How fantastic is that?
Ecologist Stuart Collard said that the falcon’s resurged because they’ve adapted better than any other native animal to city-life. "They've been able to adapt to that environment, so typically they would nest on a cliff so they might find a ledge on a cliff but a high-rise building is also a perfect alternative. It’s terrific and it's unusual that species actually go the other way. Oftentimes in an urban environment we're watching species decline” he said.
This is amazing news that the world’s most fierce, fast, and stunning animal has now made its comeback. Now, in South Australia, the peregrine falcon is likely to have its conservation status upgraded from ‘rare’ to ‘secure’!
Dr Collard, who is also an operations manager for Green Adelaide, said the organisation is looking to set up a peregrine nest live camera, which we hope to see established soon!
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