The Peregrine Fund’s Aplomado Falcon Re-Introduction
In 2009, The Peregrine Fund initiated a five-year Aplomado falcon re-introduction program on the Delk Ranch south of Interstate-10 and the Pitchfork Ranch to the north of I-10. The chicks were raised at The Peregrine Fund’s World Center for Bird’s of Prey’s headquarters in Boise, Idaho, flown to Deming, New Mexico by a volunteer pilot, transported to the ranches, installed in a cage atop towers at hack-sites built by staff and then fed for six-weeks by Fund hired students who lived on the ranches.
The program was cut short after three years because the birds were not surviving. Although the falcon had lived in this region for thousands of years, it was last seen outside Deming in 1953. It lives on insects, lizards, birds and small mammals. The desertification of the Southwest and cattle-caused damage to Yucca nesting sites rendered the region uninhabitable. These losses, worsened by human-caused climate breakdown, prevented a successful re-introduction: too hot, no rain no grass, no grass no bugs, no bugs no birds, no birds and other food, no Aplomado falcon. Despite difficulties persisting in the New Mexico portion of the Fund’s re-introduction effort, their work has been successful in Texas – and in small measure, their effort is persisting here as Cinda has seen two pair of falcons and on a fairly regular basis near the Pitchfork.