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Raptor Propogation Program

falcon chicks

Raptor Propogation Program

The Stillwater Area High School raptor propagation project goal since 2000 has been to tell the story of the peregrine falcon restoration effort that saved the species from extinction.  

Humans played a role in the near destruction of the species in the 1950’s with the use of DDT as an insecticide. DDT caused infected raptors to lay thin shelled eggs that broke under an incubating falcon.

Humans also played a major role in this birds recovery from near extinction with the banning of DDT in the 1970’s and the subsequent captive breeding and releasing of peregrines all over their former range.

Minnesota had peregrine falcons nesting along the cliffs of Lake Superior and along the bluffs of the Mississippi river.  Our captive breeding program is no different than those used to bolster wild stocks in the 1980’s.  Young we produce here are sent to zoo’s, breeders, falconers, and release programs. 


At Stillwater Area High School we have had the opportunity to try several experiments geared at raptor propagation


falcon chick

Program Coordinator & Master Falconer:
Andrew Weaver
Phone: 651.351.8240 


Raptor Biology and Conservation Techniques Using Captive Breeding


(also known as 'Hawking")

Falconry is defined  as taking wild game with a trained raptor.  It is a sport that is hundreds of years old. Currently in most states a falconer must get a permit before he/she can begin the practice of falconry. Getting a permit is a three step event.  

First, one must pass a rigorous test on falconry given by the state of Minnesota.  

Second, one must find a practicing falconer who is willing to sponsor you as an apprentice falconer.  

Third, the new falconer must have his/her facilities inspected by DNR officers.  

All this effort is aimed at helping new falconers have as much success as possible with their new raptors.  Red-tailed hawks are the most preferred bird to start a falconry career with.  Apprentice (new) falconers are only allowed first year (juvenile) hawks to start with.  They must be trapped.  No breeding adults can be used.  This allows falconers to train birds that statistically were not going to survive well anyway.  Young raptors die at a very high rate in their first year (60%) or worse.



This project would not be possible without the help of the falconry community. 

The conservation role of falconers