The Peregrine Fund Center has placed five young peregrine falcons on a ledge in Dinosaur National Monument as part of its program to reintroduce the birds in Utah.
"The five peregrines, two females and three males, were carried up the cliff and placed into their new home overlooking the Green River," Steve Cranney, Utah Wildlife Resources Division non-game manager, said Thursday.The 6-week-old falcons should be flying on their own soon, Cranney said. Until then, two volunteers of the Peregrine Fund, of Boise, are baby-sitting the birds.
"Scott Davis and Grey Neale feed them and help out whenever possible," he said, "until the birds start fledging and teach themselves the art of hunting."
Historically, peregrine falcons were relatively common throughout southern and eastern Utah's deep canyon areas. But they were virtually wiped out about 40 years ago, apparently by widespread use of the pesticide DDT.
"In the late 1930s and early 1940s, they were seen almost daily in the Ashley Creek marshes," about 10 miles southwest of the five peregrines' new home in the monument's Split Mountain area, Cranney said.
"Some reports indicate four to five birds a night could be seen hunting in the marshes. We know that there were at least two nesting pairs in the high cliffs overlooking the marshes."
The Split Mountain area, he said, "should be an excellent site for the falcons because it's close to marshes and it's on the periphery of a wild peregrine population source along the Yampa River in northwestern Colorado."