Most people around the world like peregrine falcon, including me; “The peregrine falcon is a bird of prey. Adults have blue –gray wings, dark brown backs, buff colored underside and white faces with black tear stripe on their cheeks” (Peregrine Falcon, n.d. para. 1). These wonderful birds have an amazing shape, which grabs all people to look at them. There are more than 1650 breeding pairs in the United States and Canada (Peregrine Falcon, n.d.). The peregrine lived in the past in the cliffs or high mountain; however, they changed their habitats after World War II, when they were going to be extinct. Recently, you can find the peregrine in urban areas, big cities where there are metropolitan bridges or skyscrapers. Peregrines replaced their habitat because they faced the risk of death by industrial chemicals. However, this is not their only big problem. Falcons have many enemies, whether they know it or do not know it that contributed to driving them to disappear.
There are three kinds of enemies that threaten the falcon’s lives; natural risks, which contributed and killed and destroyed many species, human activities, that still changed our environment and threatened our biodiversity, and predator’s animals, which destroyed the falcon’s eggs before they hatched, or eta small chicks before they can fly. These innocent birds cannot face all of these risks alone; they need some of our assistance to protect them and protect our biodiversity.
First, natural risks that are caused by changing climate lead many species to replace their habitats. Global warming, which changes the world weather, forces the falcons to migrate to other places they have not used before; in some places, global warming changes the bird’s habitats, so they may adapt to change their population. "Some of them left the desert or cliffs, and replaced them with high buildings or bridges in the cities (Lem, 2008, para.12). In addition, some “use other unconventional nest sites such as old Common Raven nests on electric pylons, Osprey and cormorant nests on channel buoys, abandoned Bald Eagle nests along the Pacific Coast, an emergent dead tree snag in California, and special towers in salt marshes. Recently they have even extended their nesting range to such an unexpected location as Cuba” (White, 2002, para.4).
Also, huge storms usually bloom in the desert more than in the cities, so they have found the cities safer to live in. The heavy rains also might destroy their nesting, or kill small chicks; however, the greatest effect is from the wildfire which burned thousands of hectares in California and in other states, and we know there are hundreds of species live in these areas, but they might killed or escape far away to survive.
There is many scientists efforts to watch falcons population growing; however, biologist Byron Crow in Western Montana, who is concerned about the peregrine falcon, monitored by his camera the mother falcon, who laid four eggs in her nest, and after they hatched and the chick moved, she destroyed and ate the small birds. This event is very strange behaves! Mr. Crow and other researchers found a few flame chemicals, which generally used on wildfires (Struckman, 2008). All of these disasters influence the falcon’s nests and populations, and make their lives under risk. We should offer good places to the peregrine falcons; these birds, like any animals need rapid intervention, and we can collect their eggs, and use high technology to hatch them before regular times. People have much experience with birds in falconries, so we can learn about small falcons in clean environment; then we can release them in new places where there are no wildfires, or strong disasters.
The second problem is human activities such as industrial firms, which use large amounts of chemicals. According to Marla Cone (2008, para.1) in her article, “California’s peregrine, once driven to the edge of extinction by the pesticide DDT, now is contaminated with record-high levels of other toxic chemicals that may threaten them again.” While the industrial chemicals are necessary for our high quality protection, it is still a principal resource to harm all organisms’ lives. Furthermore, some people who admire pigeons cause many problems of peregrines; they might shoot the falcon or poison them. “Gunners, game wardens, and pigeon fanciers shot adult falcons, which were viewed as vermin” (Beans and Niles, 2003, para 90). Governments and environmentalists can manage a plan to breed falcons far away from the cities; urban falcons have many problems in the urban area like pollution, and with other bird’s owners, so it is appropriate to find another clear environment to breed falcons.
Another risk for peregrine falcons, that nests near the beaches comes from people’s movement near the coasts; falcons “nest in coastal marshes disturbance by boats; jet skis, or curious people, construction near falcon nests located on buildings or bridges during the breading season may cause abandonment” (Beans and Niles, 2003, para.5). We cannot prevent people from using the shore for their interests, but we can transfer the falcons to unobtrusive place near the coast; we have a large space of pure coast in the United States. As they did in the 1970s, they can make new boxes in the area near the sea, instead of old ones in the cities, which is going to be another risk that threatens small hawks.
Another threat comes from dangerous people who called falconers; they usually hunt falcons or take their eggs to hunt other birds or small animals. We know there are many people who desire to hunt the falcons! Generally, people do that for many reasons; for instance, they use them to hunt other birds, or sell them to the people, who are able to teach them in the falconry; this trade is common in the Arab Gulf countries, especially in Saudi Arabia, and we are not surprised of that, if we know the cost of peregrine falcon might be set from $15,000 to $70,000 (Parfitt, 2005). People try many ways to catch it alive; sometimes, that put prey into nets, then the falcon lands in the net and may be stuck in it. Some people in the Arab Gulf take this kind of hunting as a habit, and some of them use it as a sport. However, they might hurt the falcons, or force it to leave the country, and this is immoral and illegal in most countries including Saudi Arabia.
Furthermore, in the United Kingdom, Mark Foster (2008, para.5) wrote, “ According to the charity's Bird crime report, there were 1,190 reported incident relating to wild birds last year, an increase of more than 50 percent on the previous year's total of 726,” and one of these crimes are shooting; actually I don’t know why they are shooting the falcons. The governments should punish people who are trying to hunt falcons or who shoot them just for fun, or another fake reason, and they should regulate hunting operations if that is necessary.
Because the falcon considered a great hunter, some people established falcon’s trade, so the number of his price has risen very high; as a result, some people attend to collect the eggs and small chicks from the nests, and then breed them in a falconry, after it become adults, they teach them how to hunt; after that sell them to the hunters. However, they may use illegal ways like smuggling the falcons; for example “in Mongolia, the birds are trapped, drugged and wrapped in cloth. They are then crammed into suitcases and put on trains and aircraft, or smuggled on foot through the borders” (Prafitt, 2005, para. 4) This is a bad method to sell peregrines, Governments must track these smugglers and give them harsher punishment.
Finally, some small animals such as raccoons or other species, usually attack the falcon’s nests, or their chicks. Some of these animals destroyed the falcon’s eggs before they hatched; in the Peregrine Falcon, success story
(n.d., para.6) the author states, “Predators such as raccoons and great-horned owls occasionally take eggs or chicks from the nests.” The result is that the numbers of falcons are declining. The place of falcons should be secure and safe; small chicks cannot defend themselves from raccoons or owls, and this factor contributed to the famous immigration of falcons to the urban areas, where there are no more owls or raccoons (Peregrine Falcon, Wildlife in Connecticut, n.d)
If we breed falcons in the new place, we should protect them by keeping these dangerous animals far away from the falcon’s nesting. However, we can breed animals’ that can scare owls, such as crocodiles, or the raccoons, and create the right atmosphere for them to be able to adapt to these conditions; at the same time they can expel these harmful animals.
Some people argue that they want to use industrial chemicals, because it is necessary for our industrial economy; however, though argument seems good on one side, and if we do not have another choice, we can agree with this argument, the United States and other countries have quit using some of these dangerous chemicals, and replaced them with other safe ones. In addition, if that is necessary we can reduce our use to the reasonable amounts without affecting our lives. Other people claim they want to protect their pigeons or other kinds of birds that were threatened or killed by peregrine falcons. As the author of American Peregrine Falcon (n.d., para. 6) states, “The increasing population of peregrines has presented new risks to other endangered or sensitive birds such as California Least terns and Marbled Murrelets.”
Therefore, they might shoot the falcon or poison them. Moreover, “Gunners, game wardens, and pigeon fanciers shot adult falcons, which were viewed as vermin” ( Beans and Niles, L.2003. para.1).We cannot treat the risk with another risk; we can transfer falcons to another place where people do not have properties, and we have experience that the United States used do that in the past. The government of the United States began to protect them and their nests; they used a hacking technique, which depend on transfer small falcons into boxes on cliffs or tall buildings; these boxes are supposed to protect chicks from bad weather and dangerous predators (The Peregrine Falcon, n.d.).
There are many falconers, who earned thousands of dollars from falcon’s hunt demanding the governments allowed them to hunt and trade in falcons. In the hunts, they use two ways; in one of them they takes the falcon eggs and breed it in the falconry; after they hatched, they train them to catch prey. Otherwise, they catch adult falcons by putting the prey in the net to attract falcons to fall in the nets, and then capture the falcons.“Falconers prized these birds for their excellent hunting ability and often took chicks from nests to be trained in the ancient art of falconry” (Peregrine Falcon, n.d. para7). After this dramatic describing of hunts, we refuse these ways, because they are illegal and lead to overhunting that threatens the extinction of hawks; on the other hand, it forces the falcons to migrate from places frequented by falconries to other places probably more dangerous.
Some countries like Saudi Arabia prevent falcon hunting, because it endangers birds, but Saudi hunters travel to the Sahara or to Africa to bring falcons! All countries must regulate this frantic race before the falcon is extinct forever. In addition, they must organize the ways of hunting because some people use strange tricks to catch the falcons. In Mongolia, hunters put pigeons in plastic; when the falcons try to take the pigeon, he gets trapped in the plastic. “The pigeons often escape, leaving the falcons entangled in plastic to die slowly” (Parfitt, 2005, pare9). Governments can manage this matter by regulating the time and the number of birds, which they can use for hunting or international participation sports. However, they must keep the number for hunting under natural average.
In conclusion, diversity is very important to keep natural stability. Every kind of species must be protects by local rules and global agreements; we can keep our environment full of kinds of species that give our life wonderful shape; we can protect falcons against his enemies, terrible disasters, and dangerous human operations that affect the lives of birds, animals, and human beings.
In addition, we can protect small falcons and eggs from raccoons attacking by moving one of them to another place, or breeding other animals like alligators, that can make raccoons think twice before they attack the falcon’s nests.
American Peregrine Falcon (falcon peregrinous anatum). Texas Parks and Wildlife (n.d.). Retrieved November 2, 2008 from http://www.tpwd.state.tx .us/ huntwild/ wild/species/ amperegrine/
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Cone, M. (2008, May 9). A new toxic threat to bird of prey; The state’s peregrine falcons, once victims of DDT, again face a deadly contaminant: flame retardants. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 16, 2008, from Lexis Nexis database.
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Struckman, R. (2008, May 23). Odd falcon behavior maybe linked to chemicals used to fight wildfires, New West. Net .Retrieved November 29, 2008, fromhttp://www.newwest.net/topic/article/odd_falcon_behavior_may_be_linked_to_chemicals_in_fire_retardant/C41/L41/
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