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Parkland Mews and the Peregrine Falcon
The prime focus for Parkland Mews is the Peregrine Falcon. The inextricable strands that link the Peregrine to humans is a continuous tapestry, woven from times of antiquity to the present age. A history that has seen the falcon held in exalted esteem, to that of persecuted competitor. Even within the last half of the twentieth century the Peregrine emerged from being victim of environmental poisoning, to recipient of human conservation endeavours.
Like the Peregrine, man also has an elemental supremacy. However, unlike the Peregrine, man also attests to having a moral conscience and, therein lays the dilemma. If humans claim to be superior beings, is it not then implicit to have responsibility for creatures lower than themselves? The common thread through this long relationship between man and bird is the consequence of human activities upon the environment. Technological changes continue to have an increasingly powerful influence, and indeed a more intrusive impact on landscapes that for centuries were largely shaped by forces of nature.
Over forty years ago choices were being made about which animal and plant species should receive attention for being preserved, and which risked extirpation, or in some cases, extinction. Choices we still face today, perhaps at an increasing level.
The choice by Parkland Mews for targeting the Peregrine in particular, arises for reasons beyond the obvious urgency of the falcon’s Endangered conservation status within the region. In the stark reality of choices for survival, the Peregrine is known to be a global species, with few exceptional land areas where it is not present. The cosmopolitan character of the bird suggests a successful adaptability to many different environments, a key to future survival.
By its place in the food chain, the species can serve as a possible bio-indicator on the health of the environment. In its possible role of environmental beacon or pathfinder for species endeavouring to survive in human altered landscapes the Peregrine is of critical value to management efforts going into the 21st century, and therefore, a pearl beyond price.
Not only as an aerial predator is the Peregrine extremely able in terms of both form and function, the bird also has the ability to exploit a wide prey base of avifauna. Indeed it would be easier to list birds as possible prey outside the falcon’s capability rather than list those that are within.
Over centuries stretching to millennia, and in all the animal kingdom, the falcon has enjoyed a resonating connectedness with people shared only with the dog and the horse. The integral relationship between man and bird sets the falcon apart from other birds, and bodes well for future management.
By developing techniques that will assist the Peregrine in adapting to, and maintaining itself in a human altered landscape, the critical survival essentials of food, shelter and a place to rear offspring may also be of ecological benefit to other species that grace our present quality of life.
Resplendent resident breeding falcons successfully living in a human altered landscape while challenging the human spirit toward conserving the Peregrine’s right to exist remains the purpose for Parkland Mews.
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the Peregrine Falcon in Manitoba?
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