Published: October 2016
Author(s): Mark S. Vekasy
Peregrine falcons (Falco pereginus) exhibited well-documented population declines across North America and much of their global range following the widespread use of DDT shortly after the Second World War. The peregrine falcon was listed nationally as an endangered species by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in 1970 and by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission in 1980 when only five pairs were found to be nesting statewide. With the restriction placed on the use of DDT, the peregrine population has recovered and was removed from the federal endangered species list in 1999. In 2002 the species was reclassified as a state sensitive species after >70 territories were found occupied.
In 2004, the USFWS and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife began allowing small numbers of peregrine falcon nestlings to be taken for falconry, and in 2010 the regulations were modified to include trapping of first-year Washington falcons. WDFW last completed comprehensive surveys of peregrine falcon territories in 2009. In that year, the Department identified 108 occupied territories, an increase from 91 occupied territories in 2006, and a continued linear increase in the number of occupied territories since 1990. In 2012 as a response to state down-listing of the peregrine, the Washington Forest Practices Board approved the removal of peregrine falcon critical habitat from Forest Practice Rules (WAC 222-16-080).
The species no longer meets the definition of a state sensitive species under Washington law, which is described as "..vulnerable or declining and is likely to become endangered or threatened in a significant portion of its range within the state without cooperative management or removal of threats" (WAC 232-12-297). WDFW therefore recommends that peregrine falcon be delisted at the state level in Washington. The species will remain classified as "protected wildlife" under state law (WAC 232-12-011) and will continue to be protected under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
Vekasy, M. S. and G. E. Hayes. 2016. Periodic status review for the peregrine falcon in Washington. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, Olympia, Washington. 16 +iii pp.