Humans: One Of The Falcon's Greatest Threats - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Humans: One Of The Falcon’s Greatest Threats

Published January 20, 2016

Photos by
Ólafur Larsen/Wikimedia Commons

One-fourth of falcons discovered dead in Iceland were shot, according to the Icelandic Institute of Natural History (IINH).

Despite the falcon being a protected species in Iceland for the past 80 years now, RÚV reports that one in four falcons discovered dead had died as a result of being shot. With other causes of death including the changing territory of the ptarmigan, a favourite prey of the falcon, and human-made poisons that build up in the falcon’s body, people pose the greatest threat to the existence of this iconic bird.

“Despite decades of legal protection, people are still shooting falcons,” ecologist Ólaf Karl Nielsen told reporters. “What compels people to shoot them, we don’t know, but it’s naturally illegal. Sometimes people shoot them thinking they’re protecting something of their own. Sometimes, unfortunately, they shoot them in order to have them stuffed.”

Stealing falcon eggs used to pose the greatest threat to their populations, but that practice has declined. Shooting these birds, sadly, continues to be a problem.

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