Baby falcons spread their wings

Minister Diana McQueen and ESRD wildlife biologists made their way to Entwistle on July 19 to help five baby peregrine falcons settle into their new home.

Baby peregrine falcons checking out their new home

Perched high above an outlook overlooking the Pembina River, a specially designed container called a ‘hack box’ will house the young birds and protect them from predators and the elements as they complete their final development before taking flight. Staff will feed the birds daily as they start to become familiar with the landscape.Once they are ready to fly, the box will be opened and offer room for the chicks to flap their wings in preparation for eventual flight. Although the birds will continue to feed at the hack box daily, the food will gradually diminish and chicks will start to hunt for themselves. The peregrines will also continue to roost in the box. In this way, the birds will feel secure enough to focus on play in order to develop the skills needed to become independent. The hope is that the birds imprint on the site and come back in subsequent years to use the area as a nesting place.

Minister McQueen holds one of five baby peregrine falcons being released into specially designed ‘hack boxes’.

The Peregrine Falcon Recovery Program has enabled the steady reestablishment of the species to its longstanding habitat in Alberta – allowing species to move from the endangered list to the threatened list. Peregrine falcons have grown from a single reproductive pair in 1970 to approximately 50 to 60 pairs today.

Minister McQueen helps put the final touches on the baby falcons’ new home

The ultimate goal of the program is to see the species restored to viable, naturally self-sustaining populations within Alberta and removed from the endangered/threatened list entirely – we are confident that continued support of programs like the Peregrine Falcon Recovery Program will help achieve that goal.

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