Peregrine falcons have their share of claims to fame. With a diving speed of over two hundred miles per hour, these birds of prey are the fastest animals on earth or in the sky, and they are now well known for adapting from life on rocky cliffs to a different kind of mountain: modern skyscrapers. But adaptability only helps so much. In 1951, there were no peregrines left in Illinois, for instance, and it looked as if the species would be wiped out entirely in North America. Today, however, peregrines are flourishing.
In The Peregrine Returns, Mary Hennen gives wings to this extraordinary conservation success story. Drawing on the beautiful watercolours of Field Museum artist-in-residence Peggy Macnamara and photos by Field Museum research assistant Stephanie Ware, as well as her own decades of work with peregrines, Hennen uses a program in Chicago as a case study for the peregrines' journey from their devastating decline to the discovery of its cause (a thinning of eggshells caused by a by-product of DDT), through to recovery, revealing how the urban landscape has played an essential role in enabling falcons to return to the wild – and how people are now learning to live in close proximity to these captivating raptors.
Both a model for conservation programs across the country and an eye-opening look at the many creatures with which we share our homes, this richly illustrated story is an inspiring example of how urban architecture can serve not only our cities' human inhabitants, but also their wild ones.
Foreword By John Bates
Chapter One. Decline of the Peregrines
Chapter Two. Effects of DDT
Chapter Three. Reintroduction
Chapter Four. Peregrine Life in the City
Chapter Five. Behaviors
Chapter Six. Nest Site Selection
Chapter Seven. Nest Fidelity
Chapter Eight. Flight
Chapter Nine. Prey
Chapter Ten. Banding
Chapter Eleven. Research
Chapter Twelve. Education
Chapter Thirteen. Peregrine Dispersal
Chapter Fourteen. Cultural Nest Locations
Chapter Fifteen. Crib Peregrines
Chapter Sixteen. Landmark Buildings
Chapter Seventeen. Uptown
Chapter Eighteen. Industrial Sites
Chapter Nineteen. Three of Chicago’s Eyries
Chapter Twenty. Living with Peregrines
Chapter Twenty-One. Another Opinion
Chapter Twenty-Two. City Wildlife
Chapter Twenty-Three. Not a Peregrine?
Chapter Twenty-Four. Urban Green Space
Chapter Twenty-Five. Bird-Friendly Architecture
Chapter Twenty-Six. Conservation and Natural History Museums
Chapter Twenty-Seven. A Species Recovered
Mary Hennen is assistant collections manager for birds at the Field Museum, Chicago. In addition to her regular duties of caring for and assisting with the use of ornithological collections, she directs the Chicago Peregrine Program. She lives in Lockport, IL.
Peggy Macnamara is adjunct associate professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; artist-in-residence and associate of the zoology program at the Field Museum; instructor at the Field Museum, Chicago Public Libraries Nature Connection, and Art Institute family programs; and the author of several books published by the University of Chicago Press. She lives in Wilmette, IL.
"This charming landscape-format book combines the text of the assistant manager of the Bird Collection at Chicago's Field Museum and the illustrations of the artist-in-residence at the same institute. [...] the text is neat and accomplished [...] The illustration (and the accompanying notes) are a real delight, the combination of text and drawings being the book's major plus. The major minus, for a UK audience, is that over 20% of the book is an illustrated exploration, building by building, of the city's Peregrines."
– Richard Sale, Ibis 161(3), July 2019