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The Peregrine Fund Notes From The Field

"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.

•  Complete Aplomado Falcon data on GRIN

Found 37 entries matching your request:

2011 Aplomado Falcon Territory Occupancy Survey Summary - South Texas

Paul Juergens — in Aplomado Falcon Restoration

Like in years past, we spent approximately one month in southern Texas surveying suitable habitat and, predominantly, historically occupied falcon territories in the areas in and around Matagorda Island National Wildlife Refuge (MINWR) and Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge (LANWR). The main goal of the survey was to determine territory occupancy.

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2011 South Texas Artificial Nest Structure Work

Paul Juergens — in Aplomado Falcon Restoration

The days are getting longer, temperatures are climbing, and the wind is making a regular presence tossing up dust and tumbleweeds; doing its best to make working outside miserable…winter is coming to an end and spring in southern New Mexico has arrived. It is time to work on aplomado falcon nest structures for our southern Texas population. Building the nest boxes has always been a very enjoyable part of the job. It sort of reminds me of those childhood projects of building bird houses, chicken coops, benches, etc. Simple yet very effective. When it comes to aplomado falcons, many of these artificial nests are not totally necessary in coastal Texas where the population appears stable and where natural nests, built by other species like white-tailed hawks and Chihuahuan ravens, are abundant. However, what the nest structures do provide, now that we have seemingly worked out their design to its maximum effectiveness, is a very safe place for falcons to nest and ultimately improving nest success and productivity in the population – a scenario often not offered by many natural nests. Essentially, our breeding pairs of aplomado falcons, particularly those utilizing nest boxes, are working as miniature hack (release) sites that at the very least during difficult years (e.g. droughty periods) are apparently able to keep the population at a stable level so long as habitat is available. We can make this statement as we have found recruitment rates of wild fledged young are much higher than that of captive-bred released falcons. So the beneficial role the nest structures provide cannot be overstated.

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From Temples to Tigers: Monitoring Vultures in India

Yeray Seminario — in Asian Vulture Crisis

Namaste!

The Asian Vultures Crisis, as it came to be known, is one of the most compelling stories in wildlife conservation. Vultures in South Asia were dying off by the thousands and entire populations were plummeting. Finally, it was proven that a drug called Diclofenac, widely used to treat cattle and other livestock at the end of the last century, was inadvertently causing the death of these vultures. The Peregrine Fund solved the mystery and now the drug is banned in India, Nepal and Pakistan. To this day, The Peregrine Fund keeps monitoring the vulture populations in India.

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Find more articles about Aplomado Falcon, California Condor, Egyptian Vulture, Long-billed Vulture, Pallas's Fish Eagle, Peregrine Falcon, Asia-Pacific


Looking Back: Release Day

Marta Curti — in Orange-breasted Falcon Project

Spending time together after release

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.

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Find more articles about Aplomado Falcon, California Condor, Harpy Eagle, Orange-breasted Falcon, Peregrine Falcon, Neotropics


Aplomado Falcon Updates - March 2010

Brian Mutch — in Aplomado Falcon Restoration

During the second week of March, Angel Montoya, Paul Juergens and I once again completed our annual survey in the Chihuahuan Desert of West Texas, looking for nesting Aplomado Falcons. Unfortunately by the end of the second day, and having collectively driven more than 1,200 miles in much of the best habitat we could look at, only one adult pair was located. This pair was observed at a yucca on the Baeza Ranch complete with a very nice Chihuahuan Raven nest.

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Aplomado Falcons update Feb. 2010

Paul Juergens — in Aplomado Falcon Restoration

Angel Montoya, Brian Mutch, and I have just wrapped up our trip to South Texas to maintain existing nest structures and place a few new nest boxes in Aplomado Falcon territories.

It was a very productive trip despite the difficulties in getting around. Both the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge and Matagorda Island National Wildlife Refuge areas this winter finally received much needed rainfall, which made travel off of pavement or maintained all-weather roads next to impossible in the trucks. However, the ATVs we brought down were great and we generally had no trouble getting us to the nest sites, even with tools and materials in tow.

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South Texas Aplomado Falcon update, April-May 2010

Paul Juergens — in Aplomado Falcon Restoration

As of 14 May, Brian Mutch, Angel Montoya, and I completed the 2010 Aplomado Falcon occupancy survey in South Texas. Tom Cade and Grainger Hunt also visited during the first full week of surveying in the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge area. Overall, the results are very similar to what we have observed the last two years.

The falcons looked great, and it was a relief to see the area recovering from one of the most severe droughts on record. Brian and I arrived in South Texas in a torrential downpour, and Angel and I left the area in very similar weather. However, the weather during the survey period was quite favorable, especially during the first three weeks. During the last week of surveying, warm winds out of the southeast and high humidity were the norm. We did make good use of our ATVs early in the survey; although by the end of the survey, all of the roads had dried out and we were able to drive the trucks pretty much anywhere we needed to go.

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Captive Breeding at the World Center for Birds of Prey

(TPF) The Peregrine Fund — in World Center for Birds of Prey

At the World Center for Birds of Prey we have bred many species of raptors in captivity. Our goal, however, is not to propagate large numbers of species or individuals, but only the kinds and numbers desired for conservation projects in which we are involved.

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Northern Aplomado Falcon Restoration – 2008 Report

(TPF) The Peregrine Fund — in Aplomado Falcon Restoration

PROPAGATION
In 2008, the Aplomado Falcon restoration program had 34 Aplomado Falcons lay 156 fertile eggs that hatched, and 152 (97%) survived to release age. One of the ovulating falcons was a first-time layer. One falcon, which ovulated in 2007, did not lay in 2008. In addition to the captive eggs, three eggs were removed from a nest that was in jeopardy in South Texas and brought to the Boise facility. The three eggs hatched and all survived to release age. Including the wild eggs, 190 were fertile, 159 hatched, and 155 survived to release age.

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Spring 2008 Aplomado Falcon Project Update

Paul Juergens — in Aplomado Falcon Restoration

Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge<br /> male Aplomado Falcon at sunrise.
Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge
male Aplomado Falcon at sunrise.
We are now well into spring and fast approaching summer which means falcons re-established in the wilds of South and West Texas, as well as those in the captive breeding facility in Boise, are well into the nesting season.

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Ants Put a Hitch in Falcon Placement

Evelyn Cronce — in Aplomado Falcon Restoration

Thousands of harvester ants were swarming in the desert July 6, when members of the Aplomado Falcon Project arrived to put the birds in their hack boxes. The ants apparently were looking for higher ground. They found it, not only on the blooming yuccas, but also all over the three hack boxes that had been built to house the 11 young falcons scheduled for release July 13. This was not business as usual.

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Spring 2007 West Texas Aplomado Falcon Survey

Brian Mutch — in Aplomado Falcon Restoration

Aplomado Falcon
Aplomado Falcon
During The Peregrine Fund’s fall planning meetings in Boise, Idaho, we decided to organize our first intensive survey for breeding Aplomado Falcons in west Texas. Having just completed our fourth season of releasing young Aplomados to this arid desert grassland, a northern extension of the Chihuahuan Desert, we all felt there was a good chance of discovering a breeding pair. So, on 10 March 2007, four Peregrine Fund biologists, Angel Montoya, Paul Juergens, Christina Kleberg, and I, met in Marfa, Texas, where we were joined by Peregrine Fund Founding Chairman and Director, Dr. Tom Cade. In our favor, a surprising weather report for the area called for little wind (March is a very windy month in west Texas), highs in the 70s, cool nights, and the chance for a cold front with a little precipitation—all in all, perfect conditions for surveying, and conditions we felt might make this small falcon a little more conspicuous in all this huge country.

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April 2006

Thom Lord — in California Condor Restoration

Greetings, Notes from the Field readers! Fortunately for the crewmembers on the condor project, things were a bit less hectic in April than they had been in the preceding months of 2006. Although the birds did use the beautiful spring weather to begin traveling extensively once again, we’ve come to expect that transition, and the month proceeded primarily as we would have hoped. We continued observations on our two remaining condor nests, both of which were active through the end of the month, in addition to monitoring the encouraging progress of both of last year’s wild-fledged chicks.

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2006 Field Season-March update

Erin Gott — in Aplomado Falcon Restoration

Greetings from South Texas!

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2006 Field Season

Erin Gott — in Aplomado Falcon Restoration

We’ve accomplished a lot since the last update, so here is a quick summary to get everyone up to
speed:

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2004 Final Notes

Erin Gott — in Aplomado Falcon Restoration

As 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).

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2004 Field Season Update #2

Erin Gott — in Aplomado Falcon Restoration

To date we’ve fledged 48 young from wild nests (26 around the Laguna Atascosa/Brownsville area and 20 on Matagorda Island). Thirty-two of our “territorial pairs” attempted to nest this year (21 Laguna/Brownsville and 11 Matagorda.) Three “territorial” pairs never attempted to nest, while 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. So far only two pairs (who failed) recycled in different nests. Here is how our different nests produced:

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2004 Field Season Update

Erin Gott — in Aplomado Falcon Restoration

Since the last update the Aplomado Team has been busy reading bands, observing pairs, and locating active nests in South Texas. To date we observed 81 individual Aplomado Falcons between Matagorda Island NWR and the Lower Rio Grande Valley. The team has collectively read 68 Aplomado identification bands from 38 pairs and seven non-paired Aplomado Falcons (with nine un-banded falcons within the population). So far 29 Aplomado pairs are incubating eggs in a variety of natural and human-made nests. The big news is 15 of our falcon pairs are nesting in our artificial nest boxes.

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23 December 2003

Sophie Osborn — in California Condor Restoration

Greetings Notes from the Field Readers,

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The 2003 Aplomado Hack Season Comes to an End

Erin Gott — in Aplomado Falcon Restoration

As our last Aplomado Falcon reaches independence, the 2003 hack season comes to an end.  Through hard work and diligence the 2003 season was a great success.  In south Texas 28 of the 32 (88%) young Aplomado Falcons released made it to independence, while west Texas successfully fledged 36 of their 48 (75%) falcons.  In total The Peregrine Fund enhanced the Northern Aplomado population with 64 falcons released from five locations (South Padre Island, Laguna Atascosa NWR, the Means Ranch, Miller Ranch, and McKnight Ranch.)  As always the numbers reflect the dedication of the Aplomado field team and hack site attendants. 

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The 2003 Aplomado Hack Season

Erin Gott — in Aplomado Falcon Restoration

Once again time has flown by in a flurry of activity. Over the past couple of months the Aplomado team has been hard at work surveying new potential habitat, keeping track of breeding pairs, banding wild nestlings, documenting fledging success and starting up the 2003 hack season.

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Preparing for the 2003 Aplomado Hack Season

Erin Gott — in Aplomado Falcon Restoration

With 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.

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16 - 30 April 2003

Sophie Osborn — in California Condor Restoration

On April 19, Condor 250 landed on a low wall adjacent to the rim trail that passes through Grand Canyon Village. Hopping to the ground, he quickly drew the attention of numerous tourists, who sought to get as close to him as possible. Unlike most condors, Condor 250 showed little fear. It was the moment we had been waiting for. For the past week or two we had been hoping for an opportunity to recapture Condor 250. His excessive curiosity and fearlessness put him at risk and threatened to entice condors that would usually behave appropriately into bad situations.

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1 - 15 April 2003

Sophie Osborn — in California Condor Restoration

The life of a field biologist can be surprisingly dull at times. Days in the field are exceedingly long and all too often consist of hours of waiting for an animal to show up, watching it rest for hours on end, or driving long distances listening to the monotonous blips of radio transmitter signals. Days are often spent in solitude in remote areas in inhospitable conditions. Clearly, it is not the life for everyone.

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16 - 31 January 2003

Sophie Osborn — in California Condor Restoration

Beechcraft-18 used to transport condors<br /> from Boise, Idaho to Page, Arizona for release.
Beechcraft-18 used to transport condors
from Boise, Idaho to Page, Arizona for release.
On January 18, the condor field crew did something that it hadn’t done in years. Rather than gathering up our tracking equipment and setting out alone to the various zones (the release site, “up top,” the river corridor, the South Rim, etc.) from which we usually monitor the condors, the whole crew convened at the airport in Page, Arizona. Around noon, we would be receiving a very special delivery: eight new juvenile condors!! Our last batch of condors had been flown to us in November of 2001 by U. S. Forest Service pilots, who had delivered them almost to our doorstep in Marble Canyon, AZ. This time, friend and cooperator, Norm Freeman, who has helped with the Condor and Aplomado Falcon Projects innumerable times in the past, made arrangements for a charter plane to transport the young condors from The Peregrine Fund’s World Center for Birds of Prey in Boise Idaho, where they had been raised, to the airport in Page. With funding from the BLM and Catalina Flying Boats, Inc., the Beechcraft-18 owned by Catalina Flying Boats, Inc. made the flight with their pilot, Annette, and Norm serving as the co-pilot.

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The 2002 Aplomado Hack Season

Erin Gott — in Aplomado Falcon Restoration

As the dog days of summer bring the Aplomado Falcon team closer to the end of hack season, it is difficult not to reflect on the past two months with sentiment and pride.  Over the past eight weeks the team acted as guardians to more than 100 juvenile Aplomado Falcons.  During this time we experienced a spectrum of emotion—from joy, when witnessing our falcons' first flights, to despair, when discovering a falcon dead from natural predation.   But as the summer nears its end and our Aplomado Falcons gain greater confidence in their skills, we understand the project's big picture. The birds that survive will help supplement the wild population of the Northern Aplomado Falcon. This goal, combined with the dynamic presence of the falcons, is what gives us  strength to tolerate the endless hours in tough field conditions.  In fact, one of the most challenging aspects of our job is to trouble shoot problems that arise at each hack site.

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Summer of 2002, Trip III

Bill Burnham — in Arctic Program - Greenland

14 - 15 August 2002 - This time I fly to Thule Air Base, Greenland, thanks to the United States Air Force. Check-in time for the six hour flight to Greenland is midnight and I arrive at Baltimore International Airport a couple of hours before. Just after the restaurants close, so there is no chance for dinner. The good news is the flight is on time. The old DC 8 is operational (based on past experience this is not always the case). We are to clear security at 1:00 am, then are to depart about 2:00. However, they kindly wait for a delayed flight from Dallas-Fort Worth airport containing three passengers for Greenland. One of those is Christopher Cokinos who is coming up to visit the sites where Robert Peary removed the meteorites from Greenland. We will be surveying for falcons in the same area and he will ride along in our boat. We depart BWI about 2:30 am.

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The 2002 Hacking Season

Marta Curti — in Aplomado Falcon Restoration

On 6 July 2002, Peregrine Fund biologist field supervisor, Angel Montoya, Marta Curti, and landowner/rancher Jon Means opened the door to a hack box containing six juvenile Aplomado Falcons on the Means Ranch, just outside Van Horn, Texas. In less than an hour, three of the birds had emerged from the box. Soon after, a young male Aplomado took his first flight, marking the first time a known juvenile Aplomado Falcon has flown free across the open grasslands of the Chihuahuan Desert within the United States for over half a century.

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Summer of 2002, Trip II

Bill Burnham — in Arctic Program - Greenland

World Center for Birds of Prey 2001.  <br />New Herrick Collections Building has been <br />constructed since this photo was taken.
World Center for Birds of Prey 2001.
New Herrick Collections Building has been
constructed since this photo was taken.
14 July 2002 - It has been a busy couple of weeks since I returned from my first trip to Greenland this field season. Much of the first week back at the World Center for Birds of Prey was spent trying to catch-up, getting ready for the second week's activities. The entire second week was a series of meetings to resolve the organization's plans for FY03 through FY07. We had staff come to Boise from literally all over the world. Even before the week of meetings, smaller gatherings of staff members meet to discuss issues and plans to be presented and work on related budgets to be submitted.

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Banding Wild Chicks and Preparing for the 2002 Hacking Season

Marta Curti — in Aplomado Falcon Restoration

With summer officially underway, and hack season already beginning, this is a busy time for the Aplomado Falcon field crew. This month, we find ourselves still banding wild-born falcons, rearing young falcons in the hack boxes, and planning for our third release, less than a week away. 

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Reading Bands and Preparing for the 2002 Nesting Season

Marta Curti — in Aplomado Falcon Restoration

The transition from winter to spring marks the beginning of the nesting season for the Aplomado Falcon in southeast Texas.  For us, the field crew, it marks the beginning of long, hot days spent battling mosquitoes, ticks, snakes, and our own tired eyes as we try to locate and identify new and established pairs of wild Aplomado Falcons. 

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Experiences of an Aplomado Falcon Hack Site Attendant

Swathi Sridharan — in Aplomado Falcon Restoration

It is a struggle for me to awake at 5:30 a.m.  The 20-minute drive to work is different every morning, enthralling in the way of slowly revealed secrets: deer, vultures swooping on road kill, snakes, and an eastern sky that shines gently some mornings and burns fiercely on others

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Texas Central Power and Light to the Rescue

Marta Curti — in Aplomado Falcon Restoration

Since the inception of the Aplomado Falcon recovery project, The Peregrine Fund has worked with such past and current partners as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the U.S. Coast Guard, Texas Parks and Wildlife, American Electric Power (AEP) - Central Power and Light, and many private landowners, in order to raise and transport falcons, to build facilities, to
band birds, and to identify and utilize release sites. These strong and diverse partnerships have made up an integral part of the program itself and have contributed greatly to its success. Recently, an event occurred that demonstrates the commitment and concern that these outside agencies and individuals have for this endangered species and its recovery.

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2001 Field Season

Amy Nicholas — in Aplomado Falcon Restoration

At 0700 on 15 May, Angel Montoya, Marta Curti, Fish and Wildlife Service biologist Kelley Hayes, and myself were preparing to leave from the boat dock at Aransas National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) to band the first Aplomado Falcon chicks of the season, located on Matagorda Island NWR.  This is perhaps the most exciting time on the Aplomado Falcon project.
These chicks are the culmination of endless hours of hard work and the cooperation of numerous individuals and agencies.  They are the best indication of the success of these combined efforts.  

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2001 Field Season Begins!

Amy Nicholas — in Aplomado Falcon Restoration

In the pre-dawn hours of 27 March, Angel Montoya and I headed to the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge.  Our goal was to survey for Aplomado Falcons on Unit 4, a remote section of the refuge accessible only by boat.  At Laguna headquarters Alfredo Salinas, refuge personnel, was waiting to ferry us and the two ATVs across a short section of the Arroyo Colorado.   While we loaded the ATVs onto the boat, we became aware that our prayers for good weather had not been answered; the rising sun illuminated a sky full of ominous dark clouds.  Obviously, it was going to be a very wet, muddy day. 

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