Bob Anderson founded the Raptor Resource Project in 1988 to breed and release peregrine falcons as part of a nationwide effort to return the highly endangered species. Since its initial founding, the project has become involved in managing peregrine falcons and other birds of prey, installing camera systems, and providing an online education to our viewers. Our board and director are dedicated to carrying on Bob’s legacy.
- 1960: Bob Anderson traps his first bird of prey, a red-tailed hawk, and becomes a falconer.
- 1973: The Peregrine falcon is one of the first animals placed on the newly-created Endangered Species List.
- Mid-1970s: Anderson begins breeding prairie falcons with the goal of working towards raising and releasing peregrine falcons. He gets almost everyone he knows involved with the project.
- 1986: Bob releases peregrine falcon MF-1. Board member Brett Mandernack and his wife Carol were deeply involved with Bob’s breeding program and Brett helped produce MF-1.
- 1987: MF-1 becomes the first peregrine falcon to return and breed in the wild mid-continent since the species’ extirpation in the mid-1960s.
- 1988: Bob Anderson begins the Raptor Resource Project to breed peregrine falcons for release. Founding members include Rob MacIntyre, John Dingley, Randy Christman, and Jim Robison. Like Brett and Carol, all of them were deeply involved with Bob’s breeding work and three of the four are falconers.
- 1990: Mae, a daughter of MF-1, adopts the Allen S. King plant and becomes the first peregrine falcon to nest on a utility stack. Overall, 25 peregrine falcons are produced in the wild in the midwest.
- 1994: Bob is asked to write a paper about falcon husbandry for the American Zookeepers Association. He hires Amy Ries to edit it. Utility sites include Xcel Energy’s Allen S. King, Blackdog, and Sherco plants, and Minnesota Power and Light’s Boswell plant. Rob MacIntyre returns from Italy and Bob and Rob start discussing the possibility of nest-site imprinting on the peregrine falcon population. Overall, 87 falcons are produced in the wild in the midwest.
- 1996: Bob moves to Iowa to start breeding peregrines for a cliff release with the full support of the Iowa DNR.
- 1997: Bob tests his release idea along the Upper Iowa in Bluffton. It is a smashing success! Releases are planned at Effigy Mounds National Monument in 1998 and 1999. The Raptor Resource Project’s utility-peregrine program grows to include Xcel Energy’s Allen S. King, Blackdog, Sherco, Monticello, and Prairie Island plants, Minnesota Power and Light’s Boswell plant, and Dairyland Power’s Alma plant.
- 1998: We launch our first birdcam, “Mae’s Internest” at the Allen S. King plant in Oak Park Heights, MN. It is a resounding success – viewers love being able to view a new photo of a nesting family of falcons every two minutes. Overall, 214 peregrines are produced in the wild in the midwest.
- 1999: Peregrine falcons are removed from the federal endangered species list.
- 2000: The first peregrines return to nest on cliffs along the Mississippi river. One of them is a gold-banded bird from our releases. The cliff-released falcons from three years of releases had attracted urban falcons and started the long-awaited crossover. Overall, 219 peregrines are produced in the wild in the midwest, including three cliffs along the Mississippi.
- 2003: Bob Anderson and Rob MacIntyre build a wireless solar-based camera system to watch the bald eagles at Xcel Energy’s Fort St. Vrain plant. Viewers can now watch falcons at Xcel Energy’s King, Blackdog, and Sherco plants, bald eagles at the Fort St. Vrain plant, and great horned owls at the Valmont plant. The Raptor Resource Project bands 58 falcons at nine power plants, two stackhouses, one building, one bridge, and four cliffs. Dave Kester starts rappelling.
- 2004: Bob Anderson logs 48 rappels on river cliffs. Falcon Mae is killed in a territorial battle with falcon Belinda, who takes up residence at the King plant. An incredible 272 peregrines are produced in the wild in the Midwest.
- 2006: Bob notes that 19 Mississippi cliffs have attracted falcons. In addition to our standard banding and camera activities, Bob, Rob, and Dave Kester are working with Neil Rettig on two movies: RaptorForce and The American Bald Eagle. Bob and Neil are filming largely at a bald eagle nest in Decorah, Iowa. Amy Ries starts rappelling.
- 2009: The Raptor Resource Project bands 61 young falcons, celebrates the 1000 falcon to fledge from a power plant at Xcel Energy’s Allen S. King plant, and installs a cliff nestbox at Twin Bluff. The Decorah Eaglecam is launched and people love seeing a new photo of the bald eagles every two minutes. Bob Anderson logs his 100th climb at Maiden Rock with his son Jeremy. The peregrine falcon is removed from Iowa’s endangered species list.
- 2011: After a year at Luther College, the Raptor Resource Project switches over to Ustream and the world falls in love with the Decorah eagles. We band 64 peregrine falcons. Board President Rob MacIntyre dies of cardiac arrest while clearing a neighbor’s yard following a tornado in North Minneapolis. We begin tracking fledgling bald eagle D1.
- 2012: The Raptor Resource Project bands 66 falcons at 20 locations, discovers a new cliff nest just north of Lansing Iowa, and begins tracking another eagle from Decorah (D14). In October, the Decorah bald eagles surprise us with a new nest, N2. At least 413 peregrine falcons are produced in the wild in the midwest. D14 is electrocuted in late November. D1 flies north to Polar Bear Park along the shores of Hudson’s Bay in Ontario, Canada – a distance of roughly 900 miles. She returns to Iowa in December.
- 2013: By 2013, the Raptor Resource Project is managing cameras at Eaglecrest Wildlife, Eagle Valley, Great Spirit Bluff, and a barn in Missouri, as well as our Xcel Energy cameras. We expand our bird cam program into the Philippines with the addition of a camera at the Philippine Eagle Foundations breeding chambers. Visitors watch eagle Mabuhay being raised for release. We band 53 falcons at 19 sites and install a nest box in Clinton, Iowa. We also install cameras at N2B in Decorah so we can continue watching the eagles there. The peregrine falcon is removed from Minnesota’s endangered species list.
- 2015: N2 is destroyed in a storm in mid-July. Founder Bob Anderson passes away in late July. He had wanted John Howe to succeed him as director. The board meets, installs John Howe, and agrees that Bob’s legacy will be carried forward. We make his projects our top priority. In August, we build a new starter nest, N2B, for the Decorah eagles. We add cameras in September and they adopt the nest in October. We begin a new camera project at a bald eagle nest just north of Decorah, called Decorah Nest North. We also begin working with Cornell and the Philippine Eagle Foundation to plan a wild Philippine eagle cam.
Last updated: December 2017