Orange-breasted Falcon Release Update
Yeray Seminario— 2 October 2007 — in Orange-breasted Falcon Project Share
The day began like any other, with the falcons continuing their aerial games around our camp in the Mountain Pine Ridge area, when suddenly we noticed that AB was carrying something strange-looking in her talons. Upon closer inspection, we saw that it was an Acorn Woodpecker, a species that is plentiful in the area. After landing on a dead tree, AB devoured the woodpecker with delight, while the youngest female, AM, got closer and closer, looking with curiosity to see what strange thing AB had managed to capture; AM even dared to steal two or three pieces of meat from AB, who didn’t seem bothered at all by having to share her catch. Although we have witnessed the younger falcons attempting to hunt little and medium-sized birds, so far they have been unsuccessful. However, we are confident that they will follow AB's example very soon.
After all, these falcons do not learn to hunt overnight. Learning how to hunt and mastering basic survival skills involves a long process that, as hack site attendants, we get to witness every day. The falcons generally spend a good amount of the daylight hours in play. They chase each other at vertiginous speeds, catch branches and pine cones that they release and catch again once, twice, or even three times in the air. This playing can last more than two hours. At the same time they are playing, they often also catch many big, flying grasshoppers in the air, which they eventually eat. They have the astonishing capacity of flying at high speeds between the tree branches that surround our camp. Sometimes they seem almost to touch the ground, or fly so close to us that the only thing we can do is look at them, amazed and entranced by the magnificent show we are witnessing. Although they might use up a good amount of energy in these flights, it seems they've learned to take advantage of cliff winds in such a way that they don't need to flap; gaining altitude to fall afterwards in impressive stoops.
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