THUNDER BAY, ON ---- July 17, 2010 ---- According to the Thunder Bay Field Naturalists website, prior to the 1960's, the Peregrine Falcon, Falco peregrinus anatum, was a summer breeding resident of Lake Superior's north shore. This continental subspecies vanished from their rocky eyries, primarily as the result of man's use of agricultural pesticides (DDT and its metabolites) in the environment.
In 1973, the Canadian Wildlife Service and the University of Saskatchewan initiated the Peregrine Falcon Recovery Program. In 1989, the Thunder Bay Field Naturalists, with support from the Ministry of Natural Resources, launched Project Peregrine in an attempt to reintroduce this species to the Superior north shore.
Between 1989 and 1996, a total of 87 young peregrines were hacked at Sturgeon Bay, Ruby Lake, and Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. Each year since 1990, Peregrine Falcons have been observed on territory in Thunder Bay District and in 1993, successful nesting peregrines were recorded for the first time in the last quarter century. Their return as a breeding species has been credited to active and intensive release programs both in Canada and the United States.
As part of the National Peregrine Falcon Recovery Program, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources is once again coordinating a province-wide survey of Peregrine Falcons. This survey is conducted every five years to locate and monitor all Peregrine Falcon activity in Ontario.
Peregrines are a threatened species in Ontario. Survey results help biologists assess their status in Ontario and across Canada. In Northwestern Ontario, aerial and ground surveys are underway in the Thunder Bay and Nipigon Districts. In our region, Peregrine Falcons usually nest on high, steep cliffs, often overlooking large bodies of water in remote, undisturbed locations.
From now until the end of August, birders, hikers, naturalists, anglers, canoeists, and other outdoor enthusiasts are encouraged to contact a local Ministry of Natural Resources office or participating naturalist organization to report any sightings of possible Peregrine Falcon nesting activity.
Peregrine Survey coordinators Lisa Nyman at 807-887-5111 or Jenn Chikoski at 807-475-1133