Getting up close to a peregrine falcon, the fastest bird in the world, is a unique thrill, but the most exciting part about this rescue was what we didn't find: a tag.
In the 1970s, peregrine falcons (Falco peregrinus) were placed on the endangered species list after their populations plummeted from the widespread use of pesticides. Since then, New York State's Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has been protecting nesting sites and tagging all new birds to track their populations. The falcon that came to the Wild Bird Fund in New York City hadn't been tagged, which means he had been born in a new nest unknown to the DEC.
New York City is a great place to build a peregrine falcon nest. Our bridges and skyscrapers resemble the cliffs of their natural habitat, and there are plenty of pigeons and migratory birds to hunt. With the banning of DDT, and the careful work of the DEC, New York City now has one of the largest urban peregrine falcon populations in the world.