Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Meet Our Local Peregrine

She enjoys Grackles, Robins and the occasional Blue Jay. She loves to soar, thinks perching in the afternoon sun while sailboats glide past is just splendid and believes there is nothing more exhilarating than going from a lazy soar into a vertical stoop. She is none other than our very own local Peregrine Falcon.Born in 2006, she hails from Virginia. To be more specific, she fledged from the Norris Bridge, just South of White Stone. It's really not far at all from Annapolis.One could get there in a matter of hours by car. On the wing, there is much less traffic. But she's not just from the tidewater area of Virginia. No, there is more to the story. Lets just say that she only 'hatched' in VA. Like my dog Oiseau, she spent those formative first few weeks in West Virginia.Here is a map of where she hatched:How do I know this, you ask? Well, she was banded as a young falcon back in the spring of 2006 by Center for Conservation Biology at the College of William & Mary.

(photo courtesy of Magic Dragon 55.)

On May 24th, 2006 our very own local Peregrine was banded on a bridge over the Rappahannock River.

And here is a map of where she fledged:Soon after, she was then relocated for hacking to the New River Gorge in West Virginia. You see, whenever some nest sites have a poor history of fledging (high mortality), young birds are now moved to sites where the success rates are much higher. Issues like traffic, inexperienced birds flying into the water, a vehicle, buildings, as well as things like nest predation from likes of Great Horned Owls, all contribute to young Peregrines not surviving those first few weeks.I don't believe she has a name, but I'll have to check into that with the folks from William & Mary. If I find anything out, I'll let you know.
As for our local tiercel (the male), he has no leg bands, so his geographic origins remain a mystery.Now... if only we could get her to use the nest box that USFWS built for her, we could tell stories in future blogs about her chicks whereabouts. In the meantime, I'll keep a watchful eye towards the skies for local 1807-02723. That is her band number. She looks good in green and black.If you have a moment, I urge you to visit the Center's website.

For more on the New River Gorge Peregrine Program, please click HERE. If you'd like to read her 'yearbook', a little PDF document with details from 2006, when she and 14 other Peregrine chicks fledged, click HERE.

The story goes that, "On the morning of June 15, over one dozen feeder quail were dispersed on the ground outside of the hack box and the door was engineered to open from a concealed location over 100ft from the site. West Virginia DNR personnel, staff from Three Rivers Avian Center, and National Park Service biologists were on site during the release. At 1041hrs the box door was opened and within 15 minutes one bird (L green; R black 07/green W) had taken flight. At 1125hrs the last eyas (R purple; L black 17/green V) emerged from the box."Yes, she was the last one to leave the box that day. And it would appear that she spent around 28 to 29 days hanging around the hack box at the New River Gorge, before eventually relocating to Annapolis. Now I'm quite sure that she sowed her wild oats and traveled a bit before settling down to start a family, but it's just the points where we 'know' she has been.Here is our girl all grown up, wearing proudly her "L black 17 / green V" band.



1 comment:

Nervous Birds said...

I dropped by Monday evening and she was present in her usual spot. Where the male (tiercel) goes, I do not know. He is not as 'regularly' seen as she... but occasionally he makes an appearance.

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