5:30pm

Thu July 22, 2010
WUTC Local

Bringing Near-Extinct Birds Back to the Scenic City

Bringing Near-Extinct Birds Back to the Scenic City

Michael Edward Miller

Chattanooga, TN – John and Dale Stokes, from SOAR (Save Our American Raptors), are partnering with Rock City to bring peregrine falcons back to our area.

These birds spent many years on the Endangered Species list because pesticides nearly wiped them out in the 1960s and 70s. Captive breeding projects are re-stocking the population of these apex predators.

From the Rock City press release:

On Monday, July 12, at approximately 5 pm, two male peregrine falcons were placed in a hack box at Rock City, in preparation for their release on Wednesday, July 28*. The month-old birds flew here (by plane) from Minnesota, bred by Andy Kramer.

Fitted with transmitters, the birds are expected to take flight back into their natural habitat, hopefully to make this region their home since there are currently no nesting pairs in this area.

This Peregrine release program is an ongoing project for Rock City Gardens. Previous releases have included birds named "Garnet and Frieda" after the founders of Rock City, Garnet and Frieda Carter, as well as "Rocky." This is the third hacking effort at Rock City since 2006.

Rock City offers Birds of Prey shows every Thursday through Sunday at 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m. and a special 4:30 p.m. show on Saturdays. This show features the popular "Rock City Raptors" and is hosted by John and Dale Stokes.

*This release date is set according to the continued progress of both birds, Ted and Zenith. If one is slower to adapt, the release could be postponed a few days in order for both birds to be able to take flight.