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Peregrine falcon’s resurgence gives reason to look up

People in Lycoming County should take particular pride today in the removal of the peregrine falcon from the state’s threatened-species list.

Once endangered, four decades of effort have been poured into saving this raptor.

We can recall local efforts to set up hacking boxes to serve as homes to newly hatched chicks to help reintroduce the peregrine falcon into the wild.

Do you remember the photos when the Genetti hosted a hacking box? Or the story of another hacking box on the roof of the Commonwealth Bank building?

Many people took part in this effort, and even more paid attention.

A 1993 Sun-Gazette report about the hacking box on the roof of the bank building related efforts by Ed Reish, a local wildlife rehabilitator who coordinated care of the birds, and Barry Hill, a licensed falconer who gathered “supplies of quail and pigeons needed to feed the bird-eating falcons.”

Lycoming Audubon Society members reportedly lined up to keep watch over the chicks during the six weeks or so until they could learn to fly and fend for themselves.

Not all of the chicks survived, but enough did to contribute to the bird’s comeback in Pennsylvania. As the population grew, many people delighted when they spotted the birds circling overhead.

The peregrine falcon has continued to see population increases. Today, the species may be seen year-round at local nesting sites as well as those on migration.

The Williamsport River Walk and Muncy Boat Launch have been two reliable areas to see peregrine falcons.

With this week’s decision by the state Game Commission, the fact that the peregrine falcon has been removed from the list represents a significant conservation victory in which we should all share.

And it’s not the only bird to have come off of the list in Pennsylvania but the third high-profile raptor recovery, according to the game commission. The osprey and the bald eagle both have had similar success.

As the commission noted, it shows that placing a species on the endangered or threatened list is not a permanent designation, that recovery is an achievable goal.

All of this give us good reason to look up!

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