The Peregrine Falcon is one of the fastest animals in the world. This bird can reach speeds of 160-mph or more when they dive or stoop. Peregrines were extirpated from Eastern North America due to the widespread use of persistent pesticides that impacted their reproduction. Reintroduced into the wild after the banning of DDT in 1972, the peregrine population largely recovered. The peregrine falcon was removed from the Federal Endangered Species List in 1999 but is still considered endangered in New York State.
Today, Mohonk Preserve cooperates with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in monitoring Peregrines to ensure the continued recovery of the species. Peregrine Falcons have been studied in the Shawangunk Mountains since 1926 and were first banded in 1929. Falcons bed in the Shawangunks until 1955 when their population died out in this area. In 1998, Peregrines returned back to the Gunks Ridge and a pair has been nesting on the same cliff, producing an average of only one fledgling per year since then.
Banner Photo by Deb Tracy-Kral