Bring back Red Deer’s falcon cam, keep the focus on raptor’s revival

I am passionate about all raptors, but the peregrine falcon is my ultimate, all-time favourite. It all started in approximately 1960 when a falconer brought a young female peregrine falcon to our school and carefully explained that due to the widespread use of chemical pesticides, that her species had a very bleak and uncertain future.

I am passionate about all raptors, but the peregrine falcon is my ultimate, all-time favourite. It all started in approximately 1960 when a falconer brought a young female peregrine falcon to our school and carefully explained that due to the widespread use of chemical pesticides, that her species had a very bleak and uncertain future.

My classmates and I were devastated by this heart-wrenching story and we lovingly named this beautiful creature “Cobalt“ for her gorgeous dark blue-grey colour.

I have had a passionate place in my heart for the peregrine falcon ever since and have faithfully followed their recovery from the brink of extinction. Thanks to the banning of the pesticide DDT in Canada and the U.S. in the 1970s, and to the tireless work of conservationists and biologists like Dr. Gordon Court of Edmonton, they have made a dramatic comeback.

Through hard work and total dedication to the cause, we have amazingly come from one remaining breeding pair of peregrine falcons in all of Alberta in the 1970s, to an estimated 70 breeding pairs today.

It has been a miraculous recovery, but there is still so much more to do.

Our Telus Communications Tower in north Red Deer played an important part in that recovery for 14-plus years, and two of those years (2010, 2011 and part of 2012) were broadcast live via the Red Deer River Naturalists (RDRN) webcams.

In the two-plus short seasons of their existence, these web cams generated 673,690 web hits from all corners of the world, via the Internet. Included in those numbers were many teachers and their classes logging in to join in the chat about the falcons for their nature talks. We need these younger generations to help preserve this beautiful heritage.

Since 2010, we have had ground people monitoring the tower (with photo and video) but especially since 2011 (the last season the cams were in operation), we have kept these precious falcons in our memories with our ground cameras, videos and, during 2014 an RRP Forum, so that people from around the world, can still stay up to date in our pefa escapades.

But unfortunately, the most exciting parts — the 24-hour observations of the egg laying, the hatching, the first three to four weeks of life, the feather development, the fledging procedure, etc,, are missing for us and all of our dedicated viewers worldwide.

It is such an incredible shame and disappointment if these cams are to no longer be. We need your help to petition Telus, RDRN and any other major players to get on the band wagon to continue and to support this precious project.

Telus, for example, openly boasts of their 12 million satisfied customers. If Telus were to, on just one occasion, hold back $0.001 (one one-hundredth of a cent or one one-thousandth of a dollar) from each of those 12 million Telus bills, it would have more than sufficient funds ($12,000) to purchase new cameras, a new computer and the set up of a network thereof (on their very own tower, by the way!).

Another gigantic plus for Telus would be to have their name associated with this natural precious peregrine life, and with this eco and environmentally friendly project; and having it broadcast all over the world via the Internet. Not a bad advertising campaign, huh?

And for purpose of advertising, having our own native, homegrown peregrine falcons would have a much better impact and association with Alberta and Canada and the northern U.S. than the currently TV advertised hippopotami or giraffes or lizards of South Africa.

It would also be very nice to get something back for all the Telus bills I have so faithfully paid like clockwork every month for the last 45 years.

Some links to help prove that I am not just blowing smoke from under my hat, check out what we, a few local individual falcon lovers, have accomplished:

— Summerfly’s Shutterfly: https://suumerflys.shutterfly.com — a collection of gorgeous photos, videos and tower news events beginning in 2010 to the current.

— Dusty Musicians song and video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sTF-BddT_Ug — a beautiful song and video written, recorded and performed by Dustywings, one of our faithful viewers from Jackson County, Mich.

— Raptor Resource Project: http://www.raptorresource.org/forum/index.php/topic,1859.0.html — a specific forum we created after the cams went down, to report daily ground news happenings and events for our thousands of viewer fans whom expressed such a strong desire to stay in touch.

— The Alberta Gold Story: http://rdrn.ca/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/December-2014-.pdf — a newsletter and picture story published in the RDRN December 2014 issue (story appears on Page 3) written about a once in a lifetime experience we had with one of the four 2014 baby’s on his inaugural fledgling flight.

Dennis Maciborsky

Red Deer

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