The northern Aplomado falcon is a shining example of restoration efforts in South Texas.
Once thought extirpated in the United States, the Aplomado falcon has made a big comeback, especially to the skies of South Texas. With more than 1,500 of these raptors having been released since 1985, conservation efforts have worked.
As numbers continue climbing upward, bringing this endangered falcon towards 60 self-sustaining pairs, the current goal is to downlist the species to threatened. This is an impressive recovery from zero birds in the state just 30 years ago.
Strangely, the demise of this beautiful bird is attributed in some part to “oology” or wild egg collecting which was considered a hobby in days gone by. The Aplomado falcon was listed as endangered and finally protected in 1986.
By then organizations like The Peregrine Fund had started working on restoration efforts and by 1985 had begun experimental releases in the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge.
As a result of these efforts, the Aplomado falcon has now been restored to much of its former South Texas range. According to Peregrine Fund biologists, the 2016 nesting season has had one of the highest sightings of territorial pairs and individual Aplomado falcons to date.
Cheers and congratulations to these hardworking organizations for their continued efforts in restoring these and many other threatened and endangered species!
Photos via US Fish and Wildlife Service