Rumors of a remarkable bird's demise proved premature this spring.
The best-known and most prolific father figure in the story of the peregrine falcon's recovery in Idaho was thought last winter to be dead. Falcon fanciers were delighted when recently he turned up at his old home atop an Amalgamated Sugar plant silo in Nampa. Prospects appear promising for a new hatch of peregrines there again this year.
The 12-year-old male peregrine falcon believed to have died last winter has turned up right on time to court his long-time mate. They have been observed flying together, chasing pigeons and engaging in courtship displays. Last year the male falcon was discovered in a parking lot with a severely broken wing and dislocated leg. Few people thought he would survive, let alone fly again. Over the next four months two veterinarians, a raptor rehabilitation center, and several falconers oversaw his recovery. He was re-released last fall and falconers monitored him using a radio transmitter and visual searches until they lost track of him in November. This male peregrine astonished everyone when he showed up to take his place alongside his mate for another season.
The male is one of the first five peregrines released in downtown Boise 12 years ago in an effort to restore the raptors and move them off the Endangered Species List. He and another female established a nest on top of one of the sugar plant's silos. His first mate did not survive, and he paired up with his current mate 10 years ago. Since then they have produced 35 young and are considered to be the most productive pair of peregrines in Idaho.
The pair is expected to begin nesting by the end of March, based on the birds'activities in previous years. They are the earliest to nest among Idaho peregrines.
The peregrine falcon was taken off the Endangered Species list nationally in August of 1999, but is still considered a species of special concern in Idaho. Fish and Game will continue to monitor peregrine populations for five years after the delisting. Currently, there are 21 confirmed nesting pairs in Idaho.