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The Peregrine Fund Notes From The Field
2004 Final Notes
Erin Gott — in Aplomado Falcon Restoration    ShareAs our last hacked Aplomado Falcon reached independence, the 2004 Aplomado field season officially ended. Since January the team worked hard to make 2004 the most successful Aplomado field season in the project’s history. The evidence of this success is reflected in the following numbers. For example, 32 of our “territorial pairs” pairs attempted to nest this year (21 Laguna/Brownsville and 11 Matagorda.) Three “territorial” pairs never attempted to nest and a fourth pair went missing at egg-laying time, never to resurface. Twenty of the “territorial” pairs successfully produced young, while 12 failed during incubating/chick brooding. Only two pairs (who failed) recycled in different nests. Out of the 32 territorial pairs, 54 wild Aplomado Falcons were produced and fledged into the wild (31 around Laguna Atascosa/Brownsville area and 23 on Matagorda Island).

Here is how our different nests produced:
Open Nest Platforms: 9 fledged young, 3 failed (one from lightning strike).
Total attempts = 12. Total Chicks Fledged = 21

Barred Nest Boxes: 7 fledged young.
Total Attempts = 7. Total Chicks Fledged = 18

Natural Nests (including Raven nests on power poles): 6 fledged young and 9 failed.
Total Attempts = 15. Total Chicks Fledged = 15

I think it is safe to say that our nest structures were a success. Take Matagorda Island for an example; in 2002 and 2003 we fledged a total of 11 Aplomado Falcons (five in 2002 and six in 2003.) With nesting structures we’ve boosted that number to 23 young falcons in 2004.

This year our 2004 hack season started at the beginning of June in West Texas. This year’s West Texas hack site attendants were Courtney Coleman, Trevor Watts, Melanie Fischer, Sally Walker, Therese Catanach, Laura Kefauver Baird, Amy Kocourek, Melissa Weitzel, and Nicole Schmaltz. While Kerry Hosken, Rachael Robonovitz, Jonathan Nelson, Rachel Frame, Casy Goodpastor, and Ryan Rager worked the South Texas hack sites.

The release season (as always) was fraught with hard work. Typically everyone dealt with long, hot days, biting insects, and venomous creatures in the field, plus the occasional broken or stuck vehicle and/or other mechanical failures. Not to mention young birds killed by predators or simply disappearing. These are the normal experiences for anyone working an Aplomado Falcon restoration project, but with great determination and hard work the 2004 team helped continue the high standard of raptor restoration The Peregrine Fund strives for. Nothing marked this achievement better than the release of the 1,000th Aplomado Falcon into the Texas wilds on August 5th.
With our successful releases and increased wild Aplomado Falcon production in the United States, the population of Northern Aplomado Falcons is one year closer to being self-sustainable. With the construction of new release sites and the implementation of artificial nest boxes in 2005, The Peregrine Fund’s Aplomado Falcon field team is already excited for the New Year.

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