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Rapid City Peregrine Release: Now on Live Feed
Jun 22, 2011
Raptor biologist Janie Fink released osprey near Yankton a few years ago. Now she's in Rapid City releasing peregrine falcons. It has been almost 100 years since peregrine falcons lived West River. The species almost died out in the early 1970s due to pesticides like DDT. Populations have slowly recovered and the government removed them from its endangered species list in 1999. But the birds are still considered endangered in South Dakota.
Fink released 15 falcons last spring from atop the Assurant Building in Rapid City. This year they are releasing 15 more. Fink believes the birds will return to nest at the location they learned to fly.
A live feed has been set up to watch the young birds on top of the Assurant Building. Peregrine falcons are impressive hunters. They can reach speeds of 200 mph while diving for a catch. That makes them the fastest creature on the planet.
"It's an impressive bird of prey," says Eileen Dowd Stukel, wildlife diversity coordinator for the state Game, Fish and Parks Department. "We would love to have it here again for people to see and perhaps to benefit falconers, but that's a long way off. Right now we're just trying to do our responsibility of recovering something that used to be here."