Centennial Museum gecko logo

Desert Diary


This page was designed with CSS, and looks best in a CSS-aware browser—which, unfortunately, yours is not. However, the document should still be readable, though not presented in the most sophisticated manner.

Peregrine Falcons are birds of the rugged country. Soaring cliffs with niches for nesting and roosting are ideal. As they are making a comeback from their endangered species status, new soaring cliffs and new niches are being discovered. In El Paso, as in many other cities, they are finding multistory buildings ideal for settling down and raising a family.

True, there are pesky people and noise and pollution, but at least the people seem to keep their distance. And there's one other thing that outweighs the stench of vehicle exhaust and clatter of the city—pigeons! Our old friend the Rock Dove, better known locally as pigeons, likewise have found the towering walls of downtown buildings similar to their native habitat and have grown fat and sassy. And if there's anything a Peregrine Falcon appreciates, it's a fat, sassy, easy meal.

Alas for the Rock Dove—after many decades of easy living, it's back to the prey status it held in its Old World natural habitat. We people, though appreciate pigeon control—though surely not as much as our long-suffering statues. pen and ink



Contributor: Arthur H. Harris, Laboratory for Environmental Biology, Centennial Museum, University of Texas at El Paso.

Desert Diary is a joint production of the Centennial Museum and KTEP National Public Radio at the University of Texas at El Paso.

Peregrine falcon

Peregrine Falcon. Photograph by Craig Koppie, courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.