"Notes from the Field" provides frequent updates and pictures from our biologists and students who are working in the field or at our headquarters, the World Center for Birds of Prey.
Found 22 entries matching your request:
Survey of an Orange-breasted Falcon Eyrie
My day started at 5:00 am when we headed out to go monitor another Orange-breasted Falcon eyrie. We drove for about an hour then parked by a river near a remote village. We grabbed our gear and hit the trail. It started out flat and well maintained. The further along we went, the denser the jungle became and the less distinct the trail. We walked over a carpet of dark red-brown wet leaves and limestone rocks green with lichen and moss. Then from overhead we heard a familiar ka-ka-ka-ka and saw the aerodynamic shapes of our quarry through a break in the canopy. We were on the right track.
This Year's Release Season Comes to an End
This is the last time I will stand on this spot in the Mountain Pine Ridge, Belize watching these particular Orange-breasted Falcons chase and dive after each other across a grayish sky. It is the last time I will watch these five birds land deftly in the pine trees that surround the hack site, or hear them utter their loud, rapid fire calls - cack, cack, cack - as a vulture lazily glides over the hack site, unwittingly entering into a “no fly zone” – at least in the eyes of the falcons who will be off in an instant, diving and stooping at this “intruder” until it clears an acceptable distance understood only by those blessed with wings.Read more...
Looking Back: Release Day
I opened the release box door to see several tiny feathered faces staring up at me, patches of down in varying degrees sticking up from the tops of their heads like many tiny white dandelion seeds. I grabbed a small piece of meat from the plate I had carried up with me to the release tower, held it on the edge of my finger, and reached toward D2, the falcon closest to me. He stretched his neck, made a soft cacking noise, and greedily pulled the meat into his beak and swallowed.I offered a few more pieces to the other falcons and they all ate happily. I didn’t want to feed them too much. Today was the day they were going to be released for the first time, and we wanted them to come out of the box and eat on their own, which would help them continue to associate the platform and the box with safety.Read more...
Looking Back: The Start of Release Season
As the release season for Orange-breasted Falcons winds down, and I am now back in Boise at The Peregrine Fund’s headquarters, I can’t help but think about the great season that we had this year. I also realized that we didn’t write much about the releases themselves, so I hope to remedy that with the next few entries...Read more...
Emergency Search for a Harpy Eagle and Orange-breasted Falcon Update
Almost since its inception, The Peregrine Fund has enlisted the help of volunteers to assist in a wide variety of projects. Today, we continue to rely on the passion and commitment our volunteers possess. Through the Harpy Eagle and Orange-breasted Falcon Conservation projects alone, we have trained almost 90 volunteers from 16 different countries. Volunteers spend anywhere from 3 months to several years tracking eagles through the forest, gathering nesting data on wild falcons, or observing and caring for young birds after their release.Read more...
Searching for the Orange-breasted Falcon in Southern Guatemala
Despite the noise-cancelling head phones, the thump-thump-thump of the helicopter blades sounded in my ears. From the empty space where the door should have been (it was removed to give us better visibility) a blast of cool air rushed past my face as I peered down into the thick green tangle of trees just below us. Their ragged branches and verdant leaves were so close I expected them to scrape the bottom of the helicopter at any moment. Suddenly, to our left, we saw a large white cliff jutting out from the forest floor. We banked toward it, and then approached slowly. When we were directly in front of it, the pilot slowed the helicopter even further so that we were literally hovering what seemed like just a few feet from the actual cliff face, as my co-worker Angel Muela and I scanned the area. After only a few minutes, Angel pointed to a dark shape flying swiftly above the canopy – its pointed wings beating the air furiously. It was a falcon for sure, but we weren’t sure yet if it was the species we were looking for. Our mission that day was to find Orange-breasted Falcons - a rare raptor that The Peregrine Fund has been studying since the 1980s.Read more...
Banding the Orange-breasted Falcon in Belize
I still don’t understand how some of the places we visit once and again in Belize, are not more popular and better known to the average tourist. In this globalized, fast communicating, social network world, we receive on our backlit screens, the very same pictures taken from millions of different people - the same picture, the same landscape, the same feature time after time. It seems we tend to replicate that mental image, that stereotypic picture, that for some reason has captivated our collective imagination. Thousand Foot Falls or King Vulture Falls in Belize, could easily fit in this category of iconic images, as an example of real wilderness and pristine paradise.
Maybe coincidentally or maybe not, these are probably the two best spots in the world to see the Orange-breasted Falcon. Many birders come to the Mountain Pine Ridge in Belize just to see the falcons, but in doing so, they find themselves in some beautiful and unique scenery, which makes their sighting much more valuable than the simple act of adding another species to their life list. Read more...
Orange-breasted Falcon Release 2009 – Update
Belize is truly an amazing country – not only does it have the second largest barrier reef in the world, but it also boasts some of the most beautiful and expansive forest in Central America where Scarlet Macaws still paint the sky with their beautiful colours. It is also home to one of the only populations of Orange-breasted Falcons in Central America. Upon my arrival to Belize, I was greeted by Marta Curti and Yeray Seminario, who were already getting things set up for this year’s release. After a quick stop for some supplies, we were on our way up a bumpy hill into the vast Mountain Pine Ridge Reserve, to the site where the birds would be released. The site, named Hidden Valley, is one of the highest points in the Mountain Pine Ridge and is located on an eastward-facing peninsula with a clear view to Belmopan, Belize’s capitol. A beautiful cascade waterfall off in the distance was only a small element of this release site. Read more...
A New Pair of Orange-breasted Falcons Found in Guatemala
Of all the raptor species that I have had the good fortune to work with, the Orange-breasted Falcon (OBF) is truly one of the most captivating. Its bright plumage, almost awkwardly large feet, and its aerial speed and agility coupled with the fact that there is still so much to learn about its behavior and habits, makes it a fascinating species to work with. At the same time, this falcon’s habitat, which consists of sometimes remote cliffs surrounded by dense Neotropical forest, makes it a very challenging species to study. While some of the nest sites are very easy to access; others require much longer, more strenuous hikes, and some are only reached by helicopter. Read more...
Orange-breasted Falcon Update
Orange-breasted Falcon Release Update
Orange-breasted Falcon Release Update
First release of captive-bred Orange-breasted Falcons (Part 2)
First Release of Captive-bred Orange-breasted Falcons (Part 1)
Remote Camera Gives a Peek into the Mysterious World of Orange-breasted Falcons
Installing Remote Camera at Orange-breasted Falcon Nest Proves Challenging
The Peregrine Fund has been studying the elusive Orange-breasted Falcon (OBF) throughout Central and South America since the mid 1970s. Despite all of our efforts, however, there is still much to be learned about the habitat needs, reproduction and diet preferences for this species. In an attempt to garner more information about their nesting behavior, we decided to place a camera into one of the wild nests in Belize. However, this would not be as easy as it sounds. Read more...
First Ever Release of Orange-breasted Falcons a Success!
Orange-breasted Falcon Project Update—April 2005
With the success of last month’s trip to Belize (see Notes from the Field, March 2005), Angel and I were looking forward to our next visit. Last time we were in Belize, we had seen some interesting courtship behavior in a few of the Orange-breasted Falcon pairs and were hoping to find at least one pair already on eggs. Meanwhile, the three eggs we brought to Panama last time were just about ready to hatch and we had to finalize plans for their potential release. So, on 30 March, Angel and I headed to Belize. Our mission: secure all necessary materials for construction of a hack box and tower, transport them for over an hour up a rocky, hilly, bumpy road, build the hack box and tower and then visit an Orange-breasted Falcon nest that we believed was incubating — all in one week! Read more...
Orange-breasted Falcon Project Update—March 2005
Orange Breasted Falcon Update
Orange-breasted Falcon-June 2003
One of the lesser studied falcons in the world, the Orange-breasted Falcon (Falco deiroleucus) is arguably one of the most beautiful. It is similar in coloration to the Bat Falcon (Falco rufigularis), but has a shock of orange on its breast that the Bat Falcon lacks. It is also much larger and has proportionately bigger feet than its more commonly seen cousin. Orange-breasted Falcons (OBF) are swift fliers and feed on birds and bats which they catch on the wing. They regularly nest on cliff ledges, but have also been found nesting in epiphytes growing in emergent trees. OBFs usually lay between one and three eggs and chicks remain in the nest for about five to six weeks before fledging. Read more...
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