The Audubon Society of Portland has worked since 1994 to develop a program that provides monitoring, research, management and educational outreach for the growing population of peregrines nesting in downtown Portland.
Peregrine falcons, once one of the most endangered species on earth, have been making a phenomenal comeback since 1973 when they were first listed under the Federal Endangered Species Act. The Audubon Society of Portland has worked since 1994 to develop a program that provides monitoring, research and management for the growing population of peregrines nesting in downtown Portland.
Peregrine falcons are the fastest animals on earth, diving at speeds of more than 200 miles per hour. They are found on every continent except Antarctica. Widespread use of the pesticide DDT in the 1940s, 50s and 60s caused peregrines to lay eggs with thin eggshells that cracked during incubation. By 1970, nesting peregrines were virtually eliminated from the continental United States — there were no peregrines nesting east of the Mississippi River and only a handful in the western United States. In Oregon, nesting peregrines disappeared completely.
DDT was banned in 1972, and the American peregrine falcon was listed as endangered under the Federal Endangered Species Act in 1973. A long recovery effort has brought the species back from the brink of extinction. Today there are more than 2,000 known peregrine nest sites nationwide and more than 160 sites in Oregon. The species was de-listed from the Federal endangered species list in 1999 and the State of Oregon endangered species list in 2007.
Portland Audubon has played a key role in helping peregrines to recover in Oregon. Our current activities include educational outreach, monitoring and research; in the past, we also conducted active management of known nest sites and captive rearing of peregrine falcons. Our primary focus is on peregrine falcon nest sites in the Portland metropolitan area, which comprise more than 6 percent of the known peregrine nest sites in the entire state and include Oregon's most productive nest site, located on the Fremont Bridge. Audubon’s efforts to protect and recover the American peregrine falcon have been recognized with awards from the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and Oregon Chapter of the Wildlife Society.
Although the species is no longer endangered, Audubon continues to conduct monitoring, research and outreach activities to ensure that peregrine populations continue to recover and thrive in the Pacific Northwest, and to raise awareness of this incredible endangered-species success story.