The peregrine falcon once bred in significant numbers in Arizona. Good documentation is available for specific breeding sites and an additional 20 general locations. This report, based on the published literature, an extensive personal contact survey, an aerial habitat inventory (over 124 hours air time), and ground visits to over 300 locations, provides information on habitat preferences and management practices which can contribute to the bird's survival. In seeking to identify the habitat preferences of the falcon, many site description factors were examined. Those traits which appeared common to most recent Arizona sites (and therefore most useful in evaluating habitat) were: elevation less than 9,000 feet, cliffs tall or very tall, cliffs extensive, topographic relief high, and surface water readily available. All recent sites are in extensive canyon systems or in extensive mountain ranges. Using a habitat evaluation key derived from the traits common to known breeding sites, all cliff regions in Arizona and the Navajo Indian Reservation were flown and evaluated for suitability. Nineteen falcon eyries located in subsequent ground visits were all in areas previously ranked acceptable or better. Many management alternatives are discussed: management of information on breeding sites, habitat preservation, controlling disruptive human activities, and enhancing productivity through the creation of suitable breeding ledges, providing pesticide free prey, or direct reintroductions. Given their privacy (and an increasingly pesticide free environment) the peregrine falcon will likely exist indefinitely in suitable areas across Arizona.
Additional Publication Details
The peregrine falcon in Arizona: Habitat utilization and management recommendations