Fargo Falcons


Those who have made the Midwest Peregrine Falcon Project such a success.

The peregrine falcon restoration efforts involved numerous public agencies, organizations and individuals. Collectively we owe them a great debt of gratitude. They returned one of nature’s most spectacular creatures to much of North America.

The acknowledged pioneer of captive propagation and release techniques was Dr. Tom Cade at Cornell University. He was also one of the founders of The Peregrine Fund. Dr. Jim Grier, who recently retired as a professor at NDSU, was involved with this work as a graduate student.

Midwest restoration efforts were coordinated by The Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota. The co-directors were Drs. Pat Redig and Bud Tordoff. More than any other individual, Bud Tordoff was pivotal to the success of the project. From the late 1970s until his death in 2008, Bud focused his considerable skills and passion on the peregrines’ behalf. For many years he also maintained the ever-expanding database, and prepared the annual reports. Bud was the source of all technical assistance required at the Fargo site. He made many personal trips to this location, usually in connection with banding events. The accompanying photo of Bud was taken at one of these bandings.

The South Dakota Raptor Trust in Centerville (south of Sioux Falls) was one of the primary breeding centers that supplied captive raised young for restoration purposes. Dakota Ace, our only male falcon, was raised at this facility in 1997.

Xcel Energy has been an active corporate participant. Carefully monitored nest boxes have been installed at many of its power plants. These sites have been remarkably successful. Our current female, Miracle, hatched at the Xcel plant near Becker, Minnesota.

Locally, the Bank of the West, and its predecessors, have provided critical support and assistance. On numerous occasions, maintenance activites have been rescheduled in order to avoid disturbing the nesting birds. The building managers, Lee Gellner and Jeff Pritchett, have been particularly helpful.

All text associated with the Fargo Falcon Project has been provided by Fargo lawyer Wick Corwin, who has been involved with the monitoring of the Fargo peregrines from the outset. Although now a district judge, and Chair of Audubon Dakota, his interest and involvement continue. Wick is frequently asked to give presentations about the falcons to students and organizations. He can be contacted at wcorwin@ndcourts.gov.

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