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Flight risk Peregrine falcon named Swiss Bird of the Year

A peregrine falcon in flight

Peregrine falcons can reach speeds of up to 300km/h when diving after prey

(Keystone)

Having almost become extinct in the past, the peregrine falcon is recovering and has been recognised as Bird of the Year 2018 by Swiss nature association Birdlife.   

Peregrine falcons, which can reach speeds of up to 300km/h when diving after prey, went extinct in many European countries in the 1950s because they were particularly badly affected by the effects of the toxic pesticide DDT. 

+ 2017 was a mixed year for biodiversity, says WWF

In addition, hunting the bird was still legal. In Switzerland, only a tiny remnant population survived, but they slowly started recovering after DDT was banned. Thanks to the efforts of international nature protection efforts, the peregrine falcon returned to many areas of Europe and can now be found on all continents except Antarctica. 

Today, the peregrine falcon faces new dangers. Birdlife Switzerlandexternal link has registered dozens of poisonings in recent years. These were carried out by pigeon breeders who deliberately prepared their pigeons with extremely potent poison to kill the falcons. 

Other dangers to the species include new wind farms, increasing disturbance of their breeding grounds and glass windows panes which are invisible to the birds.

The Bird of the Year 2017 was the European dipper.

swissinfo.ch/ln

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