The Missouri Conservation Commission is taking public comment this month on a proposal to remove the peregrine falcon from the state’s endangered species list.
Populations of falcons and other raptors plummeted during the 1940s through the 1960s as a result of the use of pesticides such as DDT. The peregrine was placed on the federal endangered species list in 1970 and on the Missouri endangered species list in 1974. Peregrine falcons were removed from the federal endangered species list in 1999.
Joe DeBold, who leads the Missouri Department of Conservation's Peregrine Falcon Recovery Working Group, said in a statement recently: “Our Missouri peregrine falcon recovery goal of 12 breeding pairs in the state was exceeded in 2013 and now stands at 14 known active breeding pairs distributed across seven counties. Peregrines will remain a species of conservation concern in the state. If the breeding population declines below seven breeding pairs, MDC will work with conservation partners to determine if expanded monitoring or protection is needed.”
MDC state ornithologist Sarah Kendrick said each of the state's 14 breeding pairs use artificial nest boxes in urban areas around Kansas City and St. Louis.
“They seem to prefer the nest boxes over natural nesting sites in the state on rocky cliffs and bluffs on the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. This may be due to an abundance of food in the form of urban pigeons," Kendrick said in a statement.
Kendrick added that two breeding peregrine pairs have been documented successfully nesting since 2012 along the rocky bluffs on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River north of St. Louis, so peregrines could start using natural nesting sites in Missouri.
MDC also is proposing a regulation change to the Wildlife Code of Missouri that would allow the limited capture of young migratory falcons for use in falconry.
MDC is taking public comment on the status and regulation changes for peregrine falcons March 2-31 online at mdc.mo.gov/about-regulations/wildlife-code-missouri/proposed-regulation-changes. You also can send comments by mail to: Regulations Committee Chairman, Missouri Department of Conservation, P.O. Box 180, Jefferson City, MO 65102.
MDC will review all comments received and present a final proposal for a final vote by the Commission this summer. If approved, the regulation change will become effective Aug. 30.