- Date Added:
- June 5th, 2013
Dedicated to Recovering Birds of Prey
Bob Anderson has dedicated his life to the recovery of the Peregrine Falcon, a bird of prey that very nearly became extinct. An avid falconer, Bob trapped his first bird of prey, a red-tailed hawk, in 1960. In 1971, he became involved in Cornell University's effort to save the Peregrine Falcon by breeding it for release. The Peregrine had dwindled from over 3,000 pairs nationwide to just 19 living in the western US. There was no time to waste.
Bob took Peregrine recovery very seriously. He quit his corporate job, cashed in his retirement, sold his home, and founded the Raptor Resource Project. He worked around the clock to produce falcons, hatch and care for young birds, and research breeding and release methods. His home was a center of activity for people involved in the new discipline of raptor recovery. His hard work paid off in 1987 when MF-1, a bird he produced for the Minnesota Falconers Association, became the first falcon to survive and breed in North America mid-continent. The Peregrine Falcon was back!
Anderson went on to pioneer a program to attract falcons to utility stacks, launch a breeding and release program to return falcons to Mississippi river cliffs, and lead a team of volunteer observers to monitor and band birds of prey on stacks, cliffs, water towers, and other high places. All of these programs proved enormously successful. By 2012, over 1,000 young peregrines had been produced on Midwest power plants, falcons had bred on a total of 21 Mississippi cliffs since their return to the river in 2000, and Anderson and his team were monitoring over 40 peregrine, owl, osprey, kestrel, and eagle nests. In recognition of these extraordinary accomplishments, the Explorer's Club named Anderson a Champion of Wildlife.
Anderson has also been involved with natural history films and internet bird cams. He assisted Emmy-award winning filmmaker Neil Rettig with Raptor Force, The American Eagle, Harpy Eagle: Spirit of the Ceiba Tree, National Geographic's Great Migrations, and Discovery's Spring Watch USA. In 1998 Mae's Internest, Anderson's first internet birdcam, made webhost Xcel Energy the busiest website in the world. He followed it up with osprey cams, kestrel cams, owl cams, and eagle cams. In 2011, over 200 million viewers from 184 countries worldwide watched young eagles in Decorah, Iowa, grow from newly hatched babies to fledglings on the wing. Almost overnight, Bob Anderson and the Raptor Resource Project were providing one of the world's largest wildlife education programs.
Bob remains dedicated to telling the peregrine's story. "The peregrine's near extinction and recovery sends a message that we can make a difference. I can't imagine a more important message to give people, especially young people, today." Fifty-three years after he captured his first bird, Bob is still banding, climbing, and working tirelessly on behalf of birds of prey. His rare life has made a difference for all of us.
For more about the Raptor Resource Project, visit http://www.raptorresource.org