North Saskatchewan River, Alberta - Gordon Court
Gordon Court shares his watermark on the North Saskatchewan River. Gordon is a provincial wildlife status biologist for Alberta Fish and Wildlife and has surveyed the North Saskatchewan River for Peregrine Falcon by canoe since 1976. The river valley was a key breeding area for the species prior to the widespread use of DDT and in the early days of the survey, Gordon would spend two our three days paddling the river, usually soaked with rain, but never making a sighting.
Since then, Peregrine Falcons are making a successful return with several pairs bred in captivity and released throughout the 80s and 90s. Gordon now spots them regularly, but he still says, "It's just like seeing a ghost... They're back and they're often nesting within metres of where they were nesting in the 1940s and 50s." They also nest on many manmade structures including the high-level bridge in Edmonton, Alberta where there are nesting boxes installed to help their recovery. One pair nesting there recently hatched four young, a healthy count. "With any luck those young birds will come back and continue to repopulate the river." Put simply, the sight of a Peregrine Falcon is "spectacular".