Birds of prey have been held in captivity for thousands
of years by many cultures. However, it was not until the
20th century that they were bred in captivity and manipulated in the manner of domestic species. In his review
of breeding records of aviculturists, zoos, and falconers,
Cade (1986) found reports of 15 species that had bred in
captivity by the 1950s, and 22 by 1965. None of these
occurrences was part of an organized or sustained program.
It was the idea of saving a diminishing species that
provided the catalyst to bring together the people and
resources needed to overcome the challenges of consistently breeding these highly aggressive birds. Peregrine
Falcons (Falco peregrinus) were disappearing from
breeding sites in North America and Europe because of
the contamination of their prey by DDT (Ratcliffe
1980). Western nations were committed to clean up the
food chain, but would declining species such as Peregrine Falcons, Ospreys (Pandion haliaetus) and Bald
Eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) recover?