15 October, 2011

Island Girl Enters Nicaragua

On Friday, our tagged falcon flew SE into Nicaragua. This time she seems to have stayed up in the high country.

She flew a bit farther over the course of the day, traveling 188 miles (303 km).

She eventually put in for the night at about 1,175 ' in elevation and about 100 km inland. The exact site is obscured by clouds in my version of Google Earth but the clouds are likely indicative of rain forest.

The roost was located not too far from the Bosawas Biosphere Reserve but well away from Lago Nicaragua.

Didn't expect that either.

One of the most interesting aspects of her behavior this fall is the variation in her route. It is quite different from her previous two fall migrations.

To me, this demonstrates just how efficient and adaptable peregrines really are. She can seemingly find her way south no matter where she is in North America. She can make her living in any of the habitats she is crossing. She can utilize a huge variety of different bird species as prey. She can employ whatever hunting method works best for each of those species in each of those places. She can sleep on the ground, in trees, on cliffs, atop buildings, on offshore oil rigs and on a variety of man-made towers.

And perhaps most interesting of all, she just keeps on migrating south all the way to Chile. She could very likely stop off at many of the places she has visited and survive there quite well over the boreal winter months. But she doesn't. She has Chile in mind.

At least, that is what we have seen each year thus far. Will she repeat this behavior or will she show us something entirely new? Peregrines are thought to always return to their first wintering area. For Island Girl we think that this was Putu, although we did not see her there as an immature bird. We do know she has returned to Chile at least three times and this will be the fourth if she makes it back.

We are so lucky to be alive at this time to witness all of this.....

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