Peregrine Falcons

Courtesy of SUNY New Paltz

A former biology professor at SUNY New Paltz credited with the recovery of a certain bird of prey in the eastern U.S. has died. 

  In the late 1970s, the bald eagle and the peregrine falcon were heading toward extinction, victims of the combined threats of DDT, habitat loss, and lax regulation. Flight Paths tells the story of how a small group of New York biologists raced against nature’s clock to bring these two beloved birds back from the brink in record-setting numbers.

McGrath documents both rescue projects in never-before-published detail. At Cornell University, a team of scientists worked to crack the problem of how to breed peregrine falcons in captivity and then restore them to the wild. Meanwhile, two young, untested biologists tackled the overwhelming assignment of rebuilding the bald eagle population from the state’s last nesting pair, one of whom (the female) was sterile.

Darryl McGrath is a journalist who has written about upstate New York’s environment and rural regions for over twenty years.

Frank Doyle/USFWS public domain

A rare falcon species has fashioned a home on a southeastern Vermont energy company's smokestack.

Finetooth/Wikimedia Commons

The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife says 10 cliffs and hiking trails across the state are closed to protect peregrine falcon nesting areas.