Peregrine Status and Monitoring

Peregrines in Illinois are doing great! We have achieved the goal of having a self-sustaining population of Illinois' breeding falcons at a low risk (less than 1%) of statewide extirpation. The Peregrine Falcon was removed from the Illinois Endangered and Threatened Species List. (Peregrines were removed from the federal list in 1999.)

Continued monitoring is critical for evaluating population viability and verification of the population recovery. People should feel free to email Mary Hennen with Peregrine observations or questions at any time of the year.

Peregrine Monitoring - Individual ID

If you are lucky enough to see a peregrine, there are a few things you should record before reporting your sighting to the Illinois team. We will need your location, as exact as possible, the date of the sighting and your name. Next, take a good look at the peregrine's legs! The peregrine may have metal bands circling both legs (see the peregrine in the picture at the top of the page). These are unique to the individual and an accurate reading will allow us to identify the bird and log the sighting, which allows us to track dispersal of the species.

Important information we need from legbands:

1. Is there a band on the right leg? Is there a band on the left? Are there no bands at all?

2. What color(s) are the right leg bands? What color(s) are the left leg bands?

3. Read and record the letters and/or numbers on the band and their orientation.

Reading the letters and numbers and orientation takes some practice, but it isn't hard. In the graphic above, you see some possible color band combinations. Look at the bottom row of black over red bands. The first one is a capital "A" on the top black band and a capital "B" on a bottom red band. The shorthand for this band is: b/r A/B. The shorthand for the second band is: b/r 98/A. Sometimes you will see a letter or number tipped over on it's left side. We use an "*" to note that a number or letter is sideways. The shorthand for the third band is: b/r 6/*D, which means black over red, 6 over sideways D. The shorthand for the fourth band is: b/r *P/*H.


We are very happy when a sighting includes a photo. Even if all you have available is your cell phone camera, snap away and send it to us! Do not be embarrassed if you feel the photo isn't very good. Any Peregrine photo is a good photo to us!

Explore more about Peregrine Falcons