The Peregrine Fund Home
Sign In
The Peregrine Fund Notes From The Field
Preparing for the 2003 Aplomado Hack Season
Erin Gott — in Aplomado Falcon Restoration    ShareWith the return of the Peregrine Fund’s Aplomado Falcon field team to Texas in January the season officially began.  The team this year consists of Brian Mutch, Angel Montoya, Paul Juergens, Jessi Brown, and Erin Gott.

The big news from South Texas (Lower Rio Grande Valley) is the amount of precipitation the area received last autumn.  The five-year drought broke and the ponds and lakes are full of water.  The effect on both flora and fauna is obvious to the eye.  Everything is green, the grass tall, and the flowers are in bloom.  Laguna Atascosa and Matagorda National Wildlife Refuges are abundant with waterfowl, waders, and passerines.  The downside to the abundance of water is that Aplomado territories once easily walked to are now inundated.  This means the crew now spends a good deal of their falcon monitoring time knee deep in water, swatting mosquitoes, and scanning for alligators. Although tough at times, the conditions haven’t seemed to slow us down.  To date we have read 73 Aplomado leg identification bands, located 39 pairs, constructed seven new artificial nest structures, and built two new hack towers.

Paul Juergens works on an<br /> artificial nest structure.
Paul Juergens works on an
artificial nest structure.
The first new release tower was erected at our South Padre Island hack site in February with the help of the Nature Conservancy, Brian Mutch, Paul Juergens, Jessi Brown, and Erin Gott.  The new addition means we now have two towers at this site, allowing us to potentially release a larger amount of young Aplomado Falcons this year.  The second tower was built on The Miller Ranch in West Texas by Brian Mutch, Angel Montoya, Bill Miller, and Erin Gott.  Although it is exciting to see new towers on such successful hack sites, they are never complete without a congregation of freshly released Aplomado Falcons which will begin arriving to the new hack site in June.

The field team has also been busy erecting artificial nest structures. Out of the seven new structures, four were placed on Matagorda Island N.W.R. while the other three were constructed on Laguna Atascosa N.W.R.  This year we have tried new experimental "barred" nest structures.  These new artificial nests are basically a plywood box with evenly spaced barred walls.  The design allows Aplomado Falcons to enter while larger predators are restricted. It is always a gamble implementing unproven designs on a wild population.  A lot of time and effort goes into a product that simply might rot in the Texas sun.  All our fears were put to rest on 30 March 2003 when we observed our Crossing #2 female (Laguna Atascosa N.W.R.) incubating eggs in one of these new structures.  One week later a Matagorda Island N.W.R. Aplomado pair took up a second barred structure.

To date we’ve had 32 Aplomado Falcon nest attempts in Southern Texas.  By placing artificial nest structures on Laguna Atascosa and Matagorda N.W.R. we have limited the amount of undesirable nest selection in the population.   Every year we take measures to boost the productivity rate of our wild population. It is a system that appears to work. The field team over the past two years has observed a higher frequency of Aplomado Falcons of wild-descent in the population. In fact to date seven of our pairs are completely wild banded.  This is encouraging news.  It makes us believe in a future sustainable wild Aplomado Falcon population in North America.  This is our goal and every day we get a little nearer to completion.

Find more articles about Aplomado Falcon, North America

Most Recent Entries Atom feedshow-hide

Our Authorsshow-hide

Our Conservation Projectsshow-hide

Species we work withshow-hide

Where we workshow-hide

Unknown column 'Hits' in 'field list'
Support our work - Donate