From endangered to flourishing
New Jersey state biologists this month will send two Peregrine falcon chicks to a special site in West Virginia in an effort to repopulate the Mountain State. New Jersey’s population has soared while West Virginia’s has struggled.
In the late 1940s, farmers began using a new agricultural pesticide known as DDT. While the chemical compound was great for killing insects, it decimated the Peregrine falcon population, especially in states east of the Mississippi.
But in New Jersey, the peregrine population has bounced back – in part – because of early interest in programs aimed at re-population.
Kathy Clark is a zoologist with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. She says local falcons have benefited from having a constant source of food.
“There’s a huge migration of birds that come through New Jersey. And Peregrines do eat only birds so there are shore birds, song birds that migrate through. There’s also song birds that are here year round. And of course in the urban area there’s pigeons.”
Clark says the falcon chicks will travel to West Virginia sometime next week.