Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Urban Birdwatching

The Peregrine Falcon is often called the fastest animal on earth, reaching speeds of up to 320 km/h during an aerial dive. It is also an example of successful conservation efforts. Widespread use of DDT severely affected the Peregrine population, putting the bird on the endangered species list. The chemical altered adult breeding behaviour, and its accumulation in bird tissues led to inadequate calcium and more fragile eggs. In the 70s, a DDT ban and conservation programs helped the bird make a comeback and in 1999 it was removed from the endangered species list. Today it enjoys 'least concern' status.

One doesn't have to go far to see the Peregrine Falcon in the wild. While historically they built their nests on cliffs in coastal areas, they've also adapted to life in the big city. Replacing the cliffside with a highrise and with an ample pigeon population to feast on, the falcon is also at home in an urban setting. Here in Ottawa, a downtown nest can be found at the Crowne Plaza Hotel (Lyon Street) where they are monitored by the Ottawa Field-Naturalists club and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources. Two new chicks were hatched there earlier this month.


Rob said...

Awesome. I love the picture with blood in the nest.
I have always wondered why the urban ecosystem has so little biodiversity since we have virtually stopped killing wildlife near cities. Birds are some of the most adaptable. And mice I guess.
Since you brought up birds of prey I have to post the link for a video of golden eagle killing goats. Seriously.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting
I'm adding in RSS reader