BOISE, Idaho –Bill Heinrich, whose work with The Peregrine Fund to restore endangered birds of prey spans 36 years, was honored Saturday by The Raptor Research Foundation.
Heinrich received the 2011 Tom Cade Award, which is given annually to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the field of raptor recovery. It was presented at The Raptor Research Foundation’s annual conference in Duluth, Minnesota.
“Beginning in 1975 when reintroduction techniques were in their infancy, Bill has been at the forefront of testing and refining these techniques to the extent that they are now being successfully applied on reintroduction projects throughout the world,” said Ruth Tingay, president of the foundation, an international scientific organization.
Heinrich has worked with The Peregrine Fund since its earliest years, starting as a field technician in the successful project to save the endangered Peregrine Falcon from extinction. Now, he oversees the organization’s efforts to recover two other endangered species: the California Condor and Aplomado Falcon.
A skilled falconer, Heinrich has trained many biologists and conservationists in the practice of releasing captive-bred chicks to the wild by hacking, a falconry term. This method allows captive-bred chicks to become accustomed to their new surroundings at a hack site before being released to the wild. The chicks are monitored and fed at the hack site until they achieve independence and disperse.
“Bill has been personally responsible for hiring a generation of approximately 1,000 hack-site attendants, of whom a considerable number have since developed careers in the conservation field,” Tingay said.
Peregrine Fund President J. Peter Jenny said that Heinrich has been instrumental in achieving many of the organization’s successes through the years.
“Whether he needed to rappel down a steep cliff to reach a nest, build a hack site on the side of a mountain, or speak to a room full of professional colleagues, Bill has always been up to the task,” Jenny said. “We are delighted to see Bill’s work recognized in this way.”
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