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Robert J. Anderson

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Robert J Anderson (Bob) - Falconer[edit | edit source]

Bob was instrumental in bringing the peregrine falcon back from being an endangered species by being the first person in Minnesota to artificially breed peregrine falcons and hybrids.

Bob attended school in White Bear Lake, Minnesota and his fascination with Falconry began at age nine when he spent the summer with his family in Montana, and encountered a Falconer standing on his front door stoop with his falcon. In 1973 Bob began experimenting with breeding peregrines in captivity. He built four peregrine breeding chambers at his home in Hugo, Minnesota, modeled after those developed by Tom Cade and Jim Weaver at Cornell University. He observed the fragility of the peregrine falcon egg and how it could crack when mother bird sat on it. From that study, Bob developed safe methods to fertilize and incubate peregrine falcon eggs without breakage.

In 1983, Bob produced MF-1, his first peregrine for natural release! MF-1 was bred by Bob, and he and son Jeremy raised MF-1 in their living room. MF-1 was the first peregrine to return to the wild, breeding naturally in Minnesota after a 25-year absence of breeding pairs. Over a 15-year period, Bob produced more than 250 young peregrines from his Hugo home, but MF-1 was always his most prideful accomplishment. Bob was the subject of numerous articles written during his lifetime, and has been honored with many prestigious awards and recognitions. He worked with James Fowler from Wild Kingdom and in 2002 received a first ever “Champions of Wildlife” award from the Explorers Club --an international professional society for explorers and field scientists, with Jim Fowler as Honorary President. Bob received the honor for selfless efforts as a conservationist and environmental educator, particularly related to peregrine falcon restoration, and for his travels abroad in pursuit of knowledge about the peregrine and its history with humankind. Honorary Directors of the Explorers Club include distinguished individuals John Glenn, Robert Ballard, Richard Leakey, Edmund Hillary, Gilbert Grosvenor, and others. Another award Bob was proud to receive was the “Recognition of Outstanding Achievement for Environmental Awareness” certificate from The National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution Conservation Committee in 2014.

In 1990, Bob founded and became the Director of the Raptor Resource Project (RRP). During the 1990’s, Bob and RRP were acknowledged by the United States Department of the Interior, and Region 3 of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for peregrine falcon conservation and their contribution to the bird’s recovery. The acknowledgment praised Bob for his education and outreach activities citing heightened public awareness and appreciation of raptors in general. RRP became instrumental in re-establishing cliff nesting peregrines on the upper Mississippi river bluffs. Additionally, the “Decorah Eagle Cam” is an overwhelming success, utilized as an education tool by school rooms throughout the United States. It is also used by hospitals, nursing homes, and private individuals as a form of therapy and solace.

In 1996-1997, Bob moved his falcon breeding efforts to Bluffton Iowa. He then began to realize his dream of hacking peregrines from cliffs. The return of peregrines to historical cliff eyries along the Mississippi River is one of the most favorite and fulfilling times in Bob’s life – he found great pride from the peregrine breeding in their natural habitat, and was thrilled with the banding of baby peregrines in the wild. The IPTV documentary “Living in Iowa -- Bob Anderson Peregrine Falcon Segment” captures the efforts of Bob during his Bluffton Iowa years. Bob was a founding member of the Minnesota Falconer’s Association. In cooperation with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, he established the first relocation program for problem raptors that were depredating game farms in the area. Bob and longtime friend Rob MacIntyre worked together, developing a miniature camera attached to raptors, capturing and providing a birds-eye view of their flight. This activity lead to the PBS sponsored “Raptor Force”. Bob passed suddenly on July 27, 2015 and his deeply missed by all the people he touched over his fabulous life. Because of Bob Anderson, the peregrine falcon is no longer an endangered species, and is again breeding and living naturally in the Mid-West. And beyond that achievement, numerous people throughout the world have learned about raptors, their habitat and environment due to his tireless effort, dedication, and un-wavering vision.

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