Endangered Peregrine Falcon Possibly Dead
May 28, 2007
by Richard Simms
Male peregrine at Chickamauga Dam hasn't been sighted in a week
Over the years Chattanoogan.com Outdoors has reported frequently about a pair of rare and endangered peregrine falcons that nest on the railroad bridge just below Chickamauga Dam. The male, who carries leg bands placed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, has nested there with different females for ten years. He is believed to have possibly been part of a special 1993 restoration effort in downtown Chattanooga. This is only one of two known peregrine falcon nests in the State of Tennessee.
Avid bird watchers who monitor the birds daily, are concerned that something has happened to the male they call "Roi." Both adults are normally very visible and active right now as they are capturing food for their chicks.
Harold Sharp with the Riverwalk Birding Club says the last time anyone sighted the male peregrine was Sunday, May 20.
With their spotting scopes the birders can see an unusual white speck in the structure of the railroad bridge. They fear it might be the body of the adult male.
They have asked a railroad worker to climb the bridge tower on Tuesday to see if he can confirm whether the male peregrine may have died.
Birdwatchers have been wondering if the female peregrine ( they call Dreama) can feed and care for the chicks by herself or not.
Retired TWRA Non-Game Biologist Bob Hatcher said, "I hope that the aging peregrine father, Roi, is still living, but your observations since May 20 indicate that is unlikely. If he is no longer living, and assuming a good supply of available prey at that site, I am inclined to think that two (or possibly more) chicks would have a better chance for survival if the mother, Dreama, could be allowed to continue feeding them. Both peregrine parents sometimes care for four chicks at a time. I believe Dreama is likely to find a new mate, if needed, for next year, and hopefully they will return to nest at the same site, in use most years since 1997."
Bird watchers will continue to closely monitor the situation.
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