These are young aplomado falcons. (Aplomado is Spanish for "dark grey".) They were bred in captivity in Idaho by The Peregrine Fund as part of their Aplomado Falcon Restoration Project. Local Peregrine Fund biologists drove to Idaho to get the falcons as well as several freezers full of quail to feed the birds.
The biologists, a photographer, and special guests climbed up on the platform. One by one, the birds were placed in the box. Two hack nest monitors will feed the birds and record data relating to the falcons.
After several days, the birds are released from the box. They learn to fly and begin to hunt, although the hack nest monitors will continue to provide quail for six weeks.
The four falcons shown here were later joined by four more at the other hack. Two more groups of birds will be released later this summer.
This has been an incredible experience for our family. Not many children have held an endangered species in their hands, but my boys have. They now have a better understanding of the need for us to be caretakers of the land, and it has given them a glimpse of one of the amazing wonders of God's creation.