Misinformation Won’t Save Species

If we want to help save species, we need to start getting the facts right about what problems we need to address. Unfortunately, the press circulates much misinformation. Look at the misinformation in this AP story. It points out that the Aplomado Falcons disappeared from US more than a half century ago and that the first cause was “pesticides.”

The last official record for Arizona was 1940. And the falcons began disappearing rapidly by the first decade of the 1900s. In 1887, there were five nesting pairs at Ft. Huachuca alone. But from 1896 to to 1899 not a single falcon was found there by another top ornithologist based at the fort.

So these birds were gone by 1940 in Arizona and probably by the 1950s in New Mexico and Texas. That was long before the widespread application of pesticides–especially in the Southwest. Obviously they had been declining and disappeared before the onset of the pesticide era.

Photo source: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service public use digital library.