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Nature's Top Gun

Hundreds of feet above a Minnesota power plant, under the constant watch of a camera and the constant attention of Bob Anderson, a family of Peregrine falcons has found a home.

Anderson is part conservationist.. part midwife.. part daredevil. Often finding himself under attack by a bird he's spent years trying to protect.

"The peregrine falcon probably is nature's top gun. It is nature's fastest flying machine," said Anderson.

Anderson borrows the baby birds so he can get to know them. He wants to know everything from their biology to their behavior. Peregrine falcons are solitary birds, seeking security in high places which has helped them find homes in urban areas.

Now that the Peregrine falcon is off the endangered species
list, conservationists are working to get these birds back where they belong. The cliffs, along the Upper Iowa River and the nearby Mississippi, are among the places Anderson wants to return falcons.

After decades of hand-feeding the baby birds and helping them recover from near extinction. Anderson knows returning them to their natural habitat may make his work extinct.

Anderson said, "I think maybe three more years there will be no need for my work. I'm desperately working to put myself out of a job."

Once these birds of prey, victims of man's intrusion into nature, were almost gone. Now these regal hunters are thriving, but still relying on us. Only this time it is to help them finally find their way home.

Reported by Bob McNamara ©1998 CBS Worldwide Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report

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