The Indiana Department of Natural Resources is seeking information involving the shooting and subsequent death of a 16 year old Peregrine Falcon. The bird was bred in captivity, tagged and released to the wild along with 15 other falcons near Evansville in 1994. Why someone would target this bird remains unclear, but migratory bird biologist John Castrale says it could have easily been a mistake.
“There are a number of birds that can be confused with Peregrines, especially Cooper’s Hawks, so my guess is someone was just taking a pop shot at a bird of prey,” said Castrale. “I don’t think they probably knew it was a Peregrine Falcon”.
In 1989 Indiana saw its first pair of nesting Peregrines in more than five decades. Two years later the Peregrine Falcon Reintroduction Program was started and since, their population in Indiana has risen to 130. The Peregrine Falcon is no longer a federally endangered species but remains on the state endangered species list and intentionally killing or disturbing ones nest could result in serious charges says DNR lieutenant Mark Farmer.
“If someone was apprehended or if enough proper cause was developed where we could file charges then those penalties could be pretty severe,” Farmer said.
Officials say the chances of finding the culprit are slim. Anyone with information on the shooting should call 800- TIP- IDNR or go to TIP.IN.gov