Peregrine falcon back from the brink

The peregrine falcon, one of Canada’s best-recognized raptors, has made a remarkable comeback from the brink of extinction.

The Nature Conservancy of Canada says it is a positive sign that conservation efforts are working and that maintaining habitat is now crucial in their continued recovery.

The conservation status of the peregrine falcon has been assessed as “not at risk” by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). Designated as an endangered species in 1978, the falcon was almost eliminated from much of North America because of the effects of the pesticide DDT.

Following a phase-out of the chemical in North America the 1970s, along with a captive breeding program, populations have recovered to the point the committee says the falcon is no longer at risk. Population numbers have increased to throughout most of Canada and the species recolonized much of its former range, including urban habitats. Only the sub-species of falcon found along Canada’s west coast is still considered at risk. The peregrine falcon is known to fly at remarkable speeds up to 320 kilometres per hour. It preys on other birds that it catches in mid-flight.

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