As anyone who has ever forwarded me a chain email can attest, I am highly skeptical of hearsay and am usually the first one on Google to debunk the unbelievable. Not that this "study" sounded unbelievable, but it did sound a little too good to be true and I hear it referenced so often that I highly doubt all those that reference it have actually read the study, which was cause for concern...But I'll admit that this was one study I didn't want to find out was false.
Well, I am more than happy to report that after seeing "the study" referenced yet again recently I went ahead and did some digging. The study does exist and can be found here. (At least this appears to be the study that is referenced...)
Here's the money quote:
Our assessment indicates take of wild raptors for falconry is very unlikely to have a significant adverse impact on wild raptor populations in the United
States. Because of the limited participation in falconry and because nearly half
of all raptors used in the sport are produced through captive breeding and not
taken from the wild (Peyton et al. 1995), we believe impacts are
unlikely to increase.
So now I can at least say, "A study by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife has determined that falconry has no significant adverse impacts on wild raptor populations..." without reservations.
I encourage all falconers to read it.