Have you ever imagined what it would be like to be a bird of prey?
Frida, the peregrine falcon, narrates the story of how her family came to live in the river city of Portland, Oregon, in the early 1990s. Although you might not expect it, cities ~ densely populated areas of the planet ~ can become permanent homes to all sorts of wildlife: coyotes, skunks, raccoons, deer, red-tailed hawks, and even peregrine falcons!
Falcons in the City, a children's picture book, is a tale created from true stories of human-falcon interactions in Portland, and accompanied by beautiful watercolor illustrations. It is a wildlife success story! Thanks to the stewardship efforts of concerned citizens 40 years ago, DDT was banned and peregrine populations began to rebound from near extinction. Today the Fremont bridge in Portland is one of the most production peregrine falcon nest sites in the state of Oregon!
A peregrine falcon is a crow sized raptor whose prey includes small rodents, pigeons, song birds, bats, reptiles and sea birds. They have world wide distribution and a have a history with humans that goes back for thousands of years. Because they can be easily trained, these falcons have helped humans hunt small birds and mammals in areas of Egypt, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, in an ancient practice called “falconry.” The peregrine’s magnificent speed and power made it the favorite bird for falconers in the Middle Ages. Back then, falcon nests were common on the high stone ledges of cathedrals and castles. They are indeed the fastest animals on the planet and have been clocked at speeds up to 242 miles per hour! With the banning of DDT in America in 1972, and the listing of peregrines under the Endangered Species Act in 1973, their numbers have steadily increased, and they have moved into the urban habitat to once again coexist with humans.
Since 1990, Bob Sallinger, a biologist from the Audubon Society of Portland, has spent countless hours studying, protecting, and rehabilitating peregrine falcons nesting on bridges in the city of Portland, Oregon, with the help of numerous volunteers. In 1970, there were no peregrines known to be nesting anywhere in Oregon. Today, there are 160 known nest sites across the state! At least ten are located in the Portland Metro area, mostly on bridges including the Fremont, St. John’s, Marquam and Interstate. Bob’s wealth of information and resources made this book possible. One of Bob’s photographs in the Portland Tribune in January of 2007, of an adult peregrine falcon sitting on a nest of falcon eggs, inspired me to write this book!
A naturalist, story lover, teacher, writer and artist at heart, Lisa Manning has a Masters Degree in Outdoor Education from Southern Oregon University. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and daughter, where she teaches elementary art, plays the ukulele in the Portland Megaband and designs wine labels and T-shirts. This is her first children's book.