Peregrine falcons no longer threatened species in Illinois

CHICAGO (AP) — A conservation effort led by a Field Museum official has helped restore peregrine falcon numbers in Illinois.

Scientists with the Chicago Peregrine Program announced Tuesday that the quick-diving birds are flourishing in Illinois and are no longer in immediate danger. That means they’ve been removed from the state’s endangered and threatened list but are still protected under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Mary Hennen heads the 30-year-old conservation effort as director of the Chicago Peregrine Program. Now that the birds are off the threatened list, she says the team will have to work harder to make sure they’re OK.

In 1951, there weren’t any peregrine falcons left in Illinois. But now the state has 29 nesting territories, known locations holding one or two birds.