Raptor Resource Project, Alan and Venice Beske, Bob Collins, Steve Sherrod,
Wisconsin Falconers Association
t first encounter, Robert J
Anderson (Bob) could seem
rather shy and reserved.
However once you got his
attention, perhaps with something he
or you were passionate about, his face
would beam with a smile and enthusiasm
equivalent to that of a little kid’s.
Bob was born in Lakeland Minnesota
to a large family. His fascination with
Falconry began at age 9 when he was on
vacation with his family in Montana,
and encountered a Falconer standing
on his front door stoop with his falcon.
The young Bob was so impressed, and vowed he too would become a
Bob moved to Hugo Minnesota after finishing college. Financially,
he gave up everything to chase a dream and a bird that had entranced
him since he was 9. He was fascinated with the natural world and the
outdoors. In 1973 he began experimenting with breeding peregrines
in captivity. He built four peregrine breeding chambers, 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. He was the first person in Minnesota to artificially breed
peregrine falcons and hybrids.
In 1983, Bob produced MF-1, his first peregrine for natural release.
MF-1was 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
Bob is 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
In 1990, Bob founded and became the Director of the Raptor
Resource Project (RRP). During the 1990 decade, 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 Bobs
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 on July 27, 2015. He is 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. And yet, Bob was always so very humble – giving
credit to others before taking recognition for himself. We all hope to
accomplish and leave a positive imprint during our time on this earth,
but very few achieve it to the degree Bob did.
Primary Reference: “Meet an Iowa Birder – Bob Anderson, by Bruce Ehresman,
Iowa Bird Life, Winter 2006, Volume 76, Number 1.
Because of Bob Anderson,
the peregrine falcon is
no longer an endangered
species, and is again
breeding and living naturally
in the Mid-West.
A Celebration
of Falconry