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History of Peregrine Falcon Efforts in Indiana

Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine falcon nests are noted in cavities near the tops of large sycamore trees near Mount Carmel, Illinois.

Peregrine populations are declining due to habitat loss, shooting, egg/chick collecting and human disturbance.

Peregrine population declines become precipitous and widespread due to the indiscriminate use of DDT and other pesticides.

Peregrine falcons no longer nest east of the Mississippi River; western populations have declined by 90 percent.

The American peregrine falcon is listed as endangered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 

DDT is banned from use in the United States.

The Peregrine Fund is established at Cornell University to study, breed and restore populations of peregrine falcons in the United States.

272 captive-bred peregrine falcons are released at 20 sites in nine eastern states.

Peregrines once again nest in the eastern United States, with two pairs successfully rearing young on towers in New Jersey

The Indiana Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program is established.

Restoration efforts begin in the Midwest with releases of young peregrines in Minnesota.

Over 400 young peregrines are released in 8 midwestern states.

A male peregrine shows up in Indianapolis and, for a while, appears to have a mate. The male had been released in St. Louis during 1985.

Successful nesting by a pair of peregrine falcons occurs in the Midwest.

A pair of peregrines is discovered nesting in East Chicago, Indiana. Three young falcons fledge. This is the first documented nesting record of peregrines in Indiana in over 50 years.

A pair returns to nest at the East Chicago site in March; an initial nesting attempt fails but a second attempt produces two young; one is killed by a vehicle shortly after fledging. The adults had been originally released in Chicago (“Phoenix”, the female) and Milwaukee (“Floydy”, the male) in 1987. Another report is received of peregrine falcons at USS-Gary Works. Peregrines are subsequently observed in the area and accounts from plant personnel indicate that nesting likely occurred with at least one young fledging on the sinter plant. DNR and USS personnel meet to plan monitoring of the peregrines during the 1991 nesting season. 

Fifteen nesting pairs of peregrine falcons raise 32 chicks in the Midwest. The Indiana Nongame and Endangered Wildlife Program formalizes plans to release peregrine falcons at four urban sites beginning with Indianapolis in 1991.

Pairs of peregrines are nesting at the East Chicago and Gary sites. The East Chicago nest fledged one while the Gary nest fledged two young. The Indiana Peregrine Falcon Reintroduction Project begins with the release of 15 young falcons in Indianapolis.

Nesting pairs of peregrines are again monitored at the East Chicago and the USS-Gary Works sites. Although the East Chicago site has been used for 4 years, this year boasts a new pair of parents. They fledge four young. The Gary pair successfully fledges one young falcon. The Indiana Peregrine Falcon Reintroduction Program continues with the release of 16 young birds in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Two birds die in collisions and the rest begin to disperse by late August. Two of the 1991 Indianapolis released peregrines are reported in Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio.

The East Chicago nest is used by the same pair as the previous year. Four young fledged from this site but two later died after fledging. The USS-Gary Works site was used by the original female and a new male. Only one of four eggs hatched and an additional falcon chick was obtained and fostered into the nest. Both fledged successfully. The Indiana Peregrine Falcon Reintroduction Project released 14 chicks and 2 rehabilitated falcons in South Bend, Indiana. Due to collisions and other accidents, three falcons were sent to the Raptor Center in Minnesota for rehabilitation. The plan is to release them in Evansville during the 1994 release. 

Record production occurred at the two known nest sites along Lake Michigan with eight falcons fledging. Five chicks survived at one of the sites, the first time this has been documented in the Midwest. Falcons were observed in Indianapolis, South Bend and Fort Wayne during the nesting season but no nests were located in these areas. The Indiana Peregrine Falcon Reintroduction Project released its final set of 15 chicks and one rehabilitated falcon in Evansville. 

The pairs of peregrine falcons nesting in Indiana increased to three with a new pair establishing a nest in downtown Indianapolis. This new pair successfully fledged four young. Nesting again occurred at the East Chicago and USS-Gary Works sites with each site successfully fledging two falcons.

Seven nesting pairs of peregrine falcons were monitored. Six of the seven nests successfully raised 16 young to flight stage. Along with the three nests from the previous year, there were additional nests in East Chicago, Porter, Fort Wayne and Michigan City. 

Falcons nested at the seven sites as last year. Fifteen young were successfully raised from six nests. 

Eight nesting pairs laid clutches this year. Fifteen young were fledged from seven successful nests. A new nesting pair appeared in Jasper County. 

Eight pairs nested again this year. A record 24 young were fledged from seven successful nests. The US Fish and Wildlife Service removes the peregrine falcon from the Endangered Species List.

Pairs were present at eight nesting territories. Each pair successfully reared young with a near record total of 23 chicks reaching flight stage. Indiana’s peregrines have produced 130 fledglings since 1989.

Peregrine Falcons continue to do well in Indiana, with 9-14 successful nests each year. In 2012, an unprecedented 38 chicks fledged from 14 nests. Between the years 1989-2012, peregrines in Indiana have fledged 477 young.

The status of peregrine falcons in Indiana changed from state endangered to special concern. This species is still protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.