Open Nest Structure
Since 2002 El Sauz Ranch has participated with The Peregrine Fund in an ongoing effort to restore the Northern Aplomado Falcon. Once common along the southern gulf coast of Texas and Mexico, and throughout large portions of the American Southwest, the Aplomado Falcon disappeared as a breeding species during the first half of this century as a result of the combined effects of habitat loss, human persecution, and pesticides. Prior to releases by The Peregrine Fund, the last recorded nest within the United States was in Deming, New Mexico, in 1952.
Thanks to the cooperation of El Sauz Ranch and a multitude of other cooperators in the area, this elegant species is once again breeding along the Gulf Coast of Texas as a result of a successful restoration effort. El Sauz Ranch actively participates in releases, and research including monitoring of wild pairs established on the ranch as a result of falcon releases and documenting nesting success of those established pairs. In addition, the placement of an open platform artificial nesting structure on the ranch has allowed a pair of birds that annually succumbed to nest predation to successfully nest.
Overall, falcon releases have resulted in the formation of at least 44 pairs with at least two occurring on El Sauz Ranch where prior to 1995 there were none. Moreover, these pairs are now beginning to breed, successfully raising more than 242 young since 1995. The wild breeding population is the result of releases on El Sauz Ranch and other private properties, as well as Laguna Atascosa, Matagorda Island, and Aransas National Wildlife Refuges. On El Sauz Ranch a total of 10 Aplomado Falcons were released in 2002.
The participation of private landowners has been a cornerstone of this recovery effort.
For more information about the Northern Aplomado Falcon Project and other raptor conservation projects throughout the world, go The Peregrine Fund’s website at www.peregrinefund.org.