The first Peregrine falcon has been trapped in Tennessee in more than 50 years on the banks of the Mississippi River by a Carroll County resident. Tennessee was awarded one permit by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service allowing the trapping of one Peregrine falcon for the use in falconry beginning in 2011 in selected West Tennessee counties.
Brian Brown, of Clarksburg, made the historic capture on a Friday afternoon at around 2:30. He used a Dho-ghazza net and lured the Peregrine he has named “Belle.” He brought the bird to the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency in Nashville for the proper processing.
Peregrine falcons were the primary bird used in falconry for hunting in the 1800s. The population of Peregrine falcons, through state and federal conservation efforts, has recovered enough since their near-extinction in the early 20th century to allow for a limited take of these birds for the use in falconry. Tennessee was allowed to issue a pair of permits this year.
“This is a true mark of success in our conservation to reestablish the population of these birds,” said Walter Cook, TWRA Captive Wildlife coordinator. “Once again, this was an effort supported and carried out by falconers.”
While being the first Peregrine trapped in Tennessee, Belle is believed to the one of the few trapped recently in the southeast. A Peregrine was trapped in the Jonesboro, Ark. area during the prior week. Brown plans to have Belle go through a brief training period prior to her being used as his hunting bird.
Belle weighed just under two pounds on her visit to the TWRA. Peregrines have a body length of 13 to 23 inches and a wingspan ranging from 29 to 47 inches. The Peregrine is famous for reaching speeds of more than 200 mph during its characteristic high speed dive.
The Peregrine's range includes land regions from the Arctic tundra to the tropics. It the world's most widespread raptor.