Uncovering America's Heritage... Coin by Coin
For this month's coin, I'm proud to present the Idaho quarter.
Why am I so proud? Because this quarter shows a close-up portrait of one of my cousins, the peregrine falcon. Allow me to introduce you!
A full-grown peregrine falcon is about 18 inches long with wings 42 inches across and weighs about 2 pounds. This falcon lives in open areas all over the world, on every continent except Antarctica, at all elevations from sea level to 12,000 feet.
And is it fast? Maybe the fastest animal on earth! Falcon dives have been clocked at more than 180 miles per hour! That speed combined with their keen eyesight is why falconers train them to hunt other birds. Among their other talents, they eat many crop-destroying insects, birds, and animals, keeping those populations under control.
This falcon was the first animal protected under the Endangered Species Act in 1969, but today, its numbers have grown to the point that it has been taken off the list of endangered animals. The care we have given these animals has made a big difference!
Idaho's legislature chose the peregrine falcon as the state raptor in 2004. The idea came from students in two Idaho elementary schools. Thanks to their work, the peregrine falcon has taken its place beside the mountain bluebird (Idaho's state bird) as a symbol of Idaho...and now it has taken its place on the Idaho quarter as well!