Peregrine Falcon) perched at the edge of Gerritsen Creek, looking down on dozens of overwintering waterfowl. Sadly, this magnificent raptor was nearly eliminated from North America with only 325 pairs left by 1974. The use of the pesticide DDT caused severe egg thinning resulting in parents inadvertently crushing their own eggs. By 1968, there were no peregrines left East of the Mississippi River. The chemical's use in the US was banned by 1972 and captive breeding programs have helped significantly increase their numbers. Still listed as endangered in New York State they are carefully monitored and New York City now boasts the largest urban population of the world's fastest animal.