The Pennsylvania Game Commission has removed the Peregrine Falcon – a bird of prey with a three-foot wingspan that can dive at more than 200 mph -- from the Endangered Species list it had been on for several years.
“After an absence of nearly three decades, the first breeding peregrines to Pennsylvania were documented on bridges in the Philadelphia area,” according to Lisa Williams, Division Chief, Wildlife Diversity, Pennsylvania Game Commission. “Today, peregrines are found nesting on bridges, tall building smokestacks and cliffs in 31 counties.”
The peregrine falcon was listed as an Endangered Species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agency in 1973, said Williams. No nesting was recorded in Pennsylvania between 1959 and 1987, she said, and the species placed on the state’s endangered list beginning in about 1999.
Most peregrines in Pennsylvania are nesting today on bridges and buildings, she said, as well as on smokestacks and cliffs.
“The Game Commission will continue to survey and monitor nesting peregrine falcons,” said Williams. “Game Commission staff continues to evaluate monitoring results.”
The falcon breed, she said, lives a special life.
“Male and female falcons typically pair for life, renewing their bond with courtship activity during late winter and early spring,” she said. “Courtship is marked by special flight displays and the male bringing the female food.”
Adult peregrine falcons have dark bluish-gray upper parts and wings, with a whitish lower side with dark blue-gray horizontal bars, described Williams. The head has a dark “helmet” pattern that is more pronounced in the adults, and has long pointed wings with rapid, steady wingbeats in flight.
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