Friday, March 30, 2007

Falcon flies into valley

ERC hosts Birds of Prey specialist and bird

Express Staff Writer

An aplomado falcon has a body length of 12 to 16 inches, a wingspan of 2 to 3 feet, and weigh 9 to 17 ounces. Photo by Carl Sandfort

Can you contain a live falcon in a gallery?

Trish Nixon is going to try. Nixon, a raptor specialist from the World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise, is bringing to town Jack, a rare aplomado falcon. The presentation is scheduled for Tuesday, April 3, at 5:30 p.m. at the Images of Nature gallery, 371 N. Main St., in Ketchum.

The event is hosted by the Ketchum-based Environmental Resource Center. Nixon will explain the importance of falcons and other birds of prey and share details about the Birds of Prey Center's re-introduction of the aplomado falcon. A question-and-answer session will follow.

"This is a falcon that I can practically guarantee no one has seen," Nixon said.

The last falcon on the endangered species list, the aplomado became increasingly scarce in the early 1900s in its northern range. The last known pair nested in New Mexico in the early 1950s. This decline is probably due to the deterioration of the falcon's habitat caused by changes in land use and the use of pesticides. In 1993, the Boise-based Peregrine Fund started reintroducing captive-bred aplomados into its old habitat in the Southwest.

Nixon is the primary caretaker and trainer for 17 hawks, owls, eagles and falcons used in the Education Program at the Birds of Prey Center in Boise. She and the birds travel to schools and public gatherings to give special presentations on programs of The Peregrine Fund, and the biology, ecology and habits of birds of prey in general.

This presentation is part of the ERC's eighth annual Environmental Education Outreach Program, which brings science experts from around the state to teach hundreds of second- and third-graders.

For more information, contact Kimberly Ralphs, ERC youth outreach coordinator, at 726-4333 or

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