"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 37 entries matching your request:
2011 Aplomado Falcon Territory Occupancy Survey Summary - South Texas
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.Read more...
2011 South Texas Artificial Nest Structure Work
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.Read more...
From Temples to Tigers: Monitoring Vultures in India
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...
Aplomado Falcon Updates - March 2010
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.Read more...
Aplomado Falcons update Feb. 2010
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.
South Texas Aplomado Falcon update, April-May 2010
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. Read more...
Captive Breeding at the 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.Read more...
Northern Aplomado Falcon Restoration – 2008 Report
Spring 2008 Aplomado Falcon Project Update
Ants Put a Hitch in Falcon Placement
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. Read more...
Spring 2007 West Texas Aplomado Falcon Survey
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. Read more...
2006 Field Season-March update
2006 Field Season
We’ve accomplished a lot since the last update, so here is a quick summary to get everyone up to
speed: Read more...
2004 Final Notes
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). Read more...
2004 Field Season Update #2
2004 Field Season Update
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. Read more...
The 2004 Aplomado Hack Season
23 December 2003
Greetings Notes from the Field Readers, Read more...
The 2003 Aplomado Hack Season Comes to an End
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. Read more...
The 2003 Aplomado Hack Season
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. Read more...
Preparing for the 2003 Aplomado Hack Season
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. Read more...
16 - 30 April 2003
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. Read more...
1 - 15 April 2003
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. Read more...
16 - 31 January 2003
Summer of 2002, Trip IV
22 - 23 September 2002 Read more...
The 2002 Aplomado Hack Season
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. Read more...
Summer of 2002, Trip III
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. Read more...
The 2002 Hacking Season
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. Read more...
Summer of 2002, Trip II
Banding Wild Chicks and Preparing for the 2002 Hacking Season
Reading Bands and Preparing for the 2002 Nesting Season
Experiences of an Aplomado Falcon Hack Site Attendant
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 Read more...
Texas Central Power and Light to the Rescue
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
2001 Field Season
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.
2001 Field Season Begins!
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