The world’s fastest bird almost disappeared years ago due to DDT and other egg shell weakening pesticides. Now Florida has become the latest state to announce the official recovery of the Peregrine Falcon. The successful recovery of birds of prey has been one of the best stories to come out of the effort to control and reduce the use of chemicals in agriculture. The history of these majestic birds is also a warning that we may not know the end result of out current use of herbicides, pesticides, and genetically modified plants until a critical, unanticipated problem arises. We almost lost these birds and that would have been a shameful reflection on the chemical age of humans.
On a side note, I will never forget my first close-up observation of a Peregrine Falcon. I was on the 36th floor of a tall office building in San Francisco, standing at a conference room window watching the weather and some pigeons that were flying off from a window ledge. As one of the pigeons went by my view, there was a blur and an explosion of feathers as a falcon dropped out of nowhere and claimed its dinner. It happened so fast, I was unclear for a few seconds what I had observed. As I watched the falcon carry its prize to the top of a shorter office tower, all I could think was how lucky I had been to have been where I was at just the right second in time.