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More peregrine falcons released in western SD

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More peregrine falcons released in western SD
Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

RAPID CITY (AP) -- Four young peregrine falcons have been released in Rapid City as part of an effort to re-establish a population of the birds in western South Dakota's Black Hills.

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The Birds of Prey Northwest organization and the state Game, Fish and Parks Department have released 44 peregrines since the $10,000 project began in 2010. The four released Saturday were about 40 days old.

The birds will migrate to Central America or South America for two to three years and then hopefully make their way back to the Rapid City area to find mates and build nests, Birds of Prey Northwest raptor biologist Janie Fink told the Rapid City Journal.

Officials hope that some of the previously released birds will return this year, for the first time, she said.

The population of peregrines and other raptors was devastated years ago by pesticides, illegal hunting and the extinction of their favorite food, the carrier pigeon. They have not nested in South Dakota since the 1950s.

However, peregrine numbers have increased in the Midwest since efforts to restore them began in the early 1980s.

"We humans wiped them out. We should restore them," Fink said.

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