The release was carried out in coordination with research scientist and Cub Scouts representative Christopher Nadareski, who works on peregrine falcon rehabilitation and release as part of his duties with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, the institute said. Local Cub Scouts and other trail users were on hand to witness the event and learn more about the species, according to the press release.
"New Paltz has a long history of peregrine activity and was a location instrumental in the early recovery of the species," Nadareski said in a prepared statement. ...In my line of work, I have found that public relations and education has been a key component to the success of the peregrine rehabilitation and release program. It continues to be as much of a joy and a privilege to work with falcons today as it was when I first became involved."
Peregrine falcons are known as the fastest bird because of their ability to reach speeds of over 200 mph while diving for prey, according to the Open Space Institute. After a significant decline between 1950 and 1970, peregrine falcons remain on New York state's endangered species list even though populations of the bird have been growing in the last few years, the press release said.
The River-to-Ridge Trail was identified as an ideal location for the falcons' release because of its proximity to the Shawangunk Ridge and site lines that allow monitoring as the birds take flight and re-enter the wild. Peregrine falcons prefer to nest at high altitudes and along cliff faces like those found near the trail.
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