20 April, 2012

Left Turn Ahead

If all continues as usual, we expect that both Felipe and IslandGirl will be crossing into Peru tomorrow (well, actually today as it is 4 AM here in Iquique).

So far, both falcons have been following a northerly track on their boreal migration through Chile. However, here at the border with Peru, the coastline takes a major turn to the NW.

 Both falcons will be confronted with this major change in direction. And both may react differently to it.

Past experience has shown that some birds simply make the left turn and continue to follow the coastal route. Several other tagged falcons, usually females, have reacted by continuing north, leaving the coast and climbing well up into the Andes Mountains. These were the individuals that set new world altitude roosting records for peregrines. They usually don't stay up there for long, maybe a few days, before returning once again to the coast route.

It is not certain a this stage of our knowledge whether these adults are following other migrant prey species of birds (e.g. shorebirds) into the highlands or if they are just heading up there on their own.

We'll see what happens this time around.

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