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      Nature Report: Endangered Falcon Recovery

      Reaching into an artificial nest box on refuge property near Laguna Vista, Brian Mutch with the Peregrine Fund carefully removes a young aplomado falcon. "It's a male." There are three aplomado falcon chicks in the nest box, and researchers will carefully weigh, measure, band and take blood samples from the endangered birds. Paul Jurgens, Researcher with the Peregrine Fund, "They are about 28 days old, and will fledge in another ten days." The aplomado falcon once ranged from the southern Gulf Coast of Texas west to southeastern Arizona, but due to habitat loss, the harmful pesticide DDT and egg collecting the aplomado had vanished from the United States by the early 1950's. However, thanks to a cooperative effort by the Peregrine Fund, government agencies and private landowners the birds have been gradually reintroduced over the past 20 years to their former habitat along the South Texas coast from captive raised birds originating in Mexico. Brian Mutch, Researcher with the Peregrine Fund, "Today we are banding the last of the aplomado falcons for the year this year. We were down earlier doing our productivity survey and one of the better that we have found in many years. We found 57 young these wild established pairs have raised this year, so really a fantastic year." With 28 established pairs of aplomado falcons roaming the Texas coast from Matagorda Island to the Rio Grande and 57 young reared this year the birds are on the rebound, but they remain an endangered species.