In the 1920′s Peregrine Falcons were a common site on rocky cliffs surrounding Charleston, just Lake North of Gananoque. But, beginning in the 1950′s the falcon’s exposure to DDT led the majestic birds’ eggs to weaken, with fewer and fewer surviving to hatching. The Peregrine Falcon was, and still is, considered a Species at Risk in Canada.
But, between 2001 and 2005 The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, the Leeds Stewardship Council, and the Canadian Peregrine Foundation collaborated to bring Peregrine Falcons back to Charleston Lake.
The falcons were kept in a “hack box” on a cliff top beside Charleston Lake and were released after 40-45 days.
50 local volunteers were trained to rescue the falcons if their maiden flights turned out to be less than successful. The volunteers watched over the birds from dusk until dawn, from boats and on land, for two weeks after each release.
Today, the success of the falcon reintroduction program at Charleston Lake is still not known. In fact, as recently as this spring Parks Canada and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources were asking community members to report any Peregrine Falcon sightings.
On the positive side, as recently as September 9th at 9:45 am, a member of the eBird Canada community, a portal which serves as ”a real-time, online checklist program” to track the presence of birds throughout Canada,” reported a single Peregrine Falcon sighting near Charleston Lake.