Falconry is the sport of hunting with a trained bird of prey. Peregrine Falcons have been popular birds among falconers for thousands of years. When the species became endangered due to pesticide use in the 1950s, 60s and 70s, the expertise of falconers was instrumental in the eventual recovery of the species. In 1970, the North American population was believed to be just 10 or 20 percent of its historical average. The species was added to the Endangered Species list in 1975; at that time there were just 324 known nesting pairs in the United States. Harmful pesticides like DDT were banned, but the population needed additional help in order to increase their numbers.
Because Peregrine Falcons breed successfully in captivity, falconers continued to raise and hunt with captive-reared birds during the time it became endangered in the wild. Later, captive breeding and release programs in the United States, Germany, and elsewhere were extremely successful. These were done with cooperation between government agencies, non-government conservation groups, and experienced falconers. Today, the Peregrine Falcon is no longer on the Endangered Species list and populations have rebounded across much of their near-worldwide range. Peregrines have adapted to nest in urban and suburban settings. In the United States, many urban Peregrine Falcon nests are monitored by volunteers or via remote cameras. Birdorable fans know that our favorite Peregrine Falcon camera is the Rfalconcam in Rochester, New York.
Today's latest Birdorable species is a fantastic bird of prey from Australia: the Black Falcon!
The Black Falcon is a species of raptor endemic to Australia. They are found across a wide range which covers roughly the eastern two-thirds of the continent.
BLACK FALCON Falco subniger by beeater
Black Falcons have an overall dark plumage. Young birds are nearly completely black. Birds become lighter as they age; older Black Falcons are usually a dark sooty brown color overall.
Tomorrow's species is a long-legged bird of South American grasslands. Can you guess what it will be?
Today a beautiful bird of prey from the American west joins Birdorable: the Ferruginous Hawk!
Ferruginous Hawks are the largest species of hawk found in North America. They are even sometimes mistaken for eagles when seen in flight - they're that big! They live in open habitats across western North America. They are known for their beautiful coloration, and for their large gape (mouth opening). Check out the photo below!
Ferruginous Hawk by USFWS Pacific Southwest Region
One special Ferruginous Hawk is close to our hearts here at Birdorable. If you don't know about Journey the Ferruginous Hawk and his amazing story of survival, go have a read and be amazed: Ferruginous Hawk Recovered from Plow of Freight Train | Hawk travels 1,500 miles by train | The Amazing Journey.
Tomorrow's species is a flightless bird from Antarctica who prefers rocks to ice. Can you guess what it will be?
Today's new bird in the Birdorable Bonanza 2012 is the Northern Harrier.
In most birds of prey, males and females have similar plumage. The Northern Harrier is an exception to this rule. Males have a mostly grey plumage, while females have a brownish plumage. Northern Harriers have a unique flight style, swooping low over fields and prairies looking for prey items with a butterfly-like flapping pattern.
Northern Harrier by canorus
The tendency to soar low over the ground combined with their unique plumage has earned male Northern Harriers a cute nickname: Grey Ghost.
Tomorrow's bird is a South American species of parrot with a raptoresque name. Can you guess what it will be?
The Bald Eagle became the official emblem of the United States of America on June 20, 1782, because of its long life, strength, majestic looks and because it is native to North America.