After several decades of addressing the plight of peregrine falcon chicks that thrive in the underside of most bridges in California and conducting various means to save their population from going extinct, such as insemination of female birds and release of fledglings held in captivity, officials from the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service have decided to halt peregrine chick rescues. This is their way to save Southern California’s shorebird breeding places which are now threatened by the powerful and increased presence of the falcons.
Marie Strassburger, Sacramento’s federal agency division chief of migratory birds and habitat, has expressed that while the move seemed paradoxical, it cannot be denied that the loss of young chicks which attempt to fly away from their nest just too soon is a natural circle of life.
Peregrines hunt for wild birds as food by diving which they can do at the top speed of 200 mph. As such, they would nestle on high and hanging places such as bridges, buildings, trees, and cliffs. Young peregrines are good in flying but have poor landing skills. They are exposed to various types of dangers such as crash landing on cliffs, scrambling on a building’s window sills or ledges, or hitting the sidewalk where people eventually bring them back to their nests. However, perching on bridges with smooth steel or concrete has been impossible for the young peregrines where they end up hitting the water underneath.
The decision to abort saving and nurturing peregrine chicks is described as a local move and not a national issue. Biologists saw the necessity to move the peregrines from several breeding areas of Southern California in an attempt to save other little shorebirds which are now endangered such as the California least terns and Western snowy plovers that nest on beaches.
Officials are now faced with the irony of recovering an endangered predator which leads to their transformation as a threat to other species. While predators should always be a part of nature, a long term solution must be sought in order to create an environment where neither population between the prey and the predators is at risk.