programs ended in the 1990s, but commercial falcon
breeding continues. Falconers now use large
numbers of captive-bred falcons, some of which are
interspecies hybrids not previously found in nature.
Listers, beware: the possibility now exists that a
large falcon seen in the wild may be an escaped
exotic, even a non-species (Gyrfalcon x Peregrine)!
Thousands of captive-bred Peregrines were
released into the wild in the US and Canada in the
1980s and 1990s. Most of these were placed as
downy nestlings into artificial nest boxes on cliffs or
towers, or in the scattered remaining anatum nests in
the West. However, breeding stock for this
reintroduced population was derived from a blend of
Peregrines from several subspecies, including many
from other continents. (Most Atlantic and Gulf
coastal migrants, however, are tundrius Arctic
migrants just as before.) Although the USFWS refers
to all breeding Peregrines in the former anatum
range as anatum, and thereby claims an impressive
'recovery' for this subspecies, it has not so much
recovered as it has been replaced.
Initial indications are that wild Peregrine
populations are healthy and are assimilating these
new genes. And, politics and bloodlines aside, more
falcons in the air are a happy sight. Still, pesticides
and habitat loss remain critically serious problems,
and many Peregrines continue to experience poor
reproductive rates. Only time will tell how
sustainable the recovery really is.
Enderson, J., 2005. Peregrine falcon: stories of the blue meanie.
Univ. of Texas Press.
Hickey, J. J.. 1969. Peregrine falcon populations: their biology
and decline. Univ. of Wisconsin Press, Madison.
Houle, M. C, 1991. Wings for my flight. Addison-Wesley, New
Tordoff, H. B., P. T. Redig, 2001. The role of genetic background
in reintroduced Peregrine Falcons. Conserv. Biol. 15: 528-532.
US Fish & Wildlife Service, 2003. Monitoring Plan for the
American Peregrine Falcon: a species recovered under the
Endangered Species Act:
library.fws.gov/Pubs 1 /peregrine03 .pdf
CELEBRATE BOXING DAY BY RECYCLING
(A message for the New Year, from Ella Tyler of the Citizens' Environmental Coalition)
In British countries, the first weekday after Christmas day, generally December 26, is a public holiday
called Boxing Day. When I was a child, we lived in a Crown Colony and I thought Boxing Day was the day
you rewrapped gifts you didn't want and gave them to someone else. It seems to me that recycling fits right
into the spirit of Boxing Day. There's plenty to recycle - the unwanted gifts, the towels that have been
replaced with new ones, and the half-roll of wrapping paper you now hate. And it's a start on a New Year's
resolution to be more green in 2007.
If you are in doubt as to whether an item you don't want has a second (or ninth) life, check out the wish
list for several local nonprofits. Places that have education programs for children appreciate simple items
such as 2-liter bottles, buttons, egg cartons, fabric scraps, flat cardboard, meat trays, nature magazines,
neckties, shoeboxes, and wrapping paper scraps. Shelters for people and pets need bedding, clothing, and
personal care items.
A newly formed Houston nonprofit, Techs & Trainers Incorporated, reuses old computers as training
tools for special needs workers. The refurbished computers are then used to bring technology to people with
disabilities. The group can be reached by calling (713) 839-7177 or sending a note to
firstname.lastname@example.org. For the holiday season, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality updated its
list of places to recycle electronics. The list can be found at:
The City of Houston will provide Christmas tree recycling drop-off sites throughout Houston from Dec 27
to Jan 9. See http://www.houstontx.gov/solidwaste/christmastrees2005.html The city will also pick up trees
from houses that have yard trimmings pick up.
The Houston Westpark Recycling Center, 5900 Westpark, is close to a one-stop shop for recycling. It
accepts Christmas trees and electronic waste as well as other recyclables.
The Houston Galveston Area Council's recycling guide for our 13-county area is on-line at: