The peregrine falcon is featured on the Idaho state quarter and has been our official state raptor since 2004. The name “peregrine” means “wanderer” as they are known to have the longest migration of any North American bird, traveling up to as far as 15,500 miles in a year. They mate for life and live off a diet of other medium sized birds and small mammals.
In the 1960s, the use of the pesticide DDT pushed the peregrine falcon to near extinction. As a result, the Peregrine Fund was founded by Dr. Tom Cade in 1970 with the goal of breeding peregrines in captivity and protecting the remaining population throughout North America and Europe. The first breeding aviary was built at Cornell University. DDT was banned in 1972, and from 1974 to 1997 almost 4,000 birds were bred in captivity and released into the wild. Through the Peregrine Fund’s efforts, the Peregrine Falcon was removed from the endangered species list in 1999.
Because their natural habitat is cliffs, peregrines are attracted to tall buildings to make their nests. There has been a webcam on the 14th floor of a building in downtown Boise since 2008 which monitors the daily activity of peregrine life in a nesting box. See the webcam HERE. Today, the Peregrine Fund organization has expanded its conservation efforts to include more than 100 species in 65 countries. The Peregrine Fund’s World Center for Birds of Prey is located in Boise, at 5668 W Flying Hawk Lane. Visiting hours are Tuesday through Sunday from 10am-5pm March-November and 10am-4pm December to February. If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to visit this great attraction, right in Boise’s own backyard, we would encourage you to check it out!