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Peregrine Falcon Release

Project Release Peregrine Falcon
a Leeds County Stewardship Council project

Species: Peregrine falcon Falco peregrinus
Status (COSEWIC): species of concern

Who: In 2001 the Canadian Peregrine Foundation and the Leeds County Stewardship Council cooperated on the first of five releases of peregrine falcon chicks in Leeds County in eastern Ontario. This was part of an ongoing effort by the Peregrine Foundation to help increase the number of peregrine falcons in the province.

What: Before the chicks arrived, members of the Leeds County Stewardship Council chose a good location along the shore of Charleston Lake for putting up a hack box (a temporary home for the chicks). Then in late June four chicks—Athena, Ruby, Webster and Charlie, born in captivity in Alberta—were introduced to their new home.

For the Leeds project team this was the first of five summers during which they looked after fledgling peregrines and monitored their eventual release into the wild. You can read all about their adventures if you go to

Why: After World War II peregrine falcon populations plummeted because of the wide spread use ofpesticides that were being used worldwide to kill crop pests and malaria-carrying mosquitoes. The toxins got into the peregrines through their favourite food (other birds including ducks). The worst effect was on the females. The eggs they were laying started having very thin shells so that they often broke just from having the females sitting on them during the incubation period.

Once DDT was banned the peregrine population started to recover. Captive breeding programmes and releases into the wild have been an important part of the recovery story.

Interesting Facts:

  • the peregrine falcon is one of the most widely distributed birds in the world, occurring over large portions of each continent except Antarctica
  • the “peregrine” part of its name is derived from the Latin word peregrinus, meaning “foreigner” or “traveler.”
  • peregrine falcons are one of the fastest birds in the world; when they dive after prey, they can reach speeds over 300 km per hour!
  • peregrine falcons are aerial predators, feeding on live birds which they capture in mid-air; they often hunt as a pair, alternately diving on their prey until it is caught.

Video Credits:

  • Writer: Susan Terrill
  • Camera: Douglas and Franziska von Rosen
  • Editor: Douglas von Rosen
  • Music: Greg Forbes


Suggested Link: – Here you can read all about the release of Athena, Ruby, Webster and Charlie and many other peregrine falcons. You can also find out about what you can do to help the Peregrine Foundation in its mission to assist and document the recovery of the peregrine falcon and other raptors at risk across Canada.