Two rare Teita falcons have arrived at the World Center for Birds of Prey, where they will join the process of rebuilding the birds' native population in Africa.
The 8-week-old male birds moved into the Peregrine Fund's tropical raptor building at the center south of Boise on Thursday.They will increase the center's existing Teita population to seven birds, or three pairs plus a spare male that has a broken wing.
The pairs are expected to mate and produce young for reintroduction to Chizarira National Park in Zimbabwe, where the two males were captured early November of this year.
The two male Teitas, about the size of large fists, were housed in dog kennels and flown from a quarantine center in New York to Boise.
Peregrine Fund biologist Bill Heinrich and board member James Weaver rappelled down a rock face to fetch the young birds out of a nest.
"They're real agile and aerial; they take almost everything (prey) on the wing. That's real unusual for small fliers," Heinrich said.
He and Weaver spent six weeks in the Zambezi e River country of Zimbabwe inspecting known Teita nests, but only found only one that was occupied.
After hiking to the top of a cliff on an elephant trail, they dangled from ropes for six hours in 100-degree conditions to fetch the birds.
"It was about a 900-foot cliff, and the (nest) was about 300 feet down," Heinrich said. "It got pretty hot out there."
The Peregrine Fund's research has indicated that the birds are endangered by DDT used to control tsetse flies.