The Iowa Department of Natural Resources has been working on reintroducing the Peregrine Falcon to it’s natural habitat throughout the state. Charlotte Eby of Lee Enterprises has the story below (with photo of House Chief Clerk Mark Brandsgard):
Twenty years after wildlife officials began efforts to bring endangered peregrine falcons back, the spectacular birds are making a slow but steady return to the Iowa skies.
This year, 13 nesting pairs have been reported in the state along with a new generation of young.
Bird lovers from around Iowa have turned out in recent weeks to see fledgling peregrines leave the nests and test their wings for the first time.
Its hard to be casual around these birds or take them for granted because theyll get your attention, said Pat Schlarbaum, a wildlife diversity technician with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources. Schlarbaum said the DNR has seen incremental improvement since 10 years ago, when the state had just two nesting pairs. The department has far exceeded its goal of having five nesting pairs in the state, and its taking public comment until July 16 on a plan to remove peregrine falcons from Iowas endangered species list.
One of the most visible Iowa pairs of peregrine falcons calls a ledge on the State Capitol home.
Falcons have been at the Capitol since 2003, but 2007 was the first year of successful nesting. Four falcons hatched at the Capitol this year. The falcons have trimmed the population of resident pigeons, which once congregated in flocks around the Capitol. The best way to describe it is, the poor pigeon just turns into a big poof of feathers,Schlarbaum said.