Despite a short journey 5 KM to the south, Island Girl returned north and was still staging in Limon as of yesterday. This was her sixth day there.
Why is she pausing during her migration south?
Usually when a peregrine stops off somewhere for awhile, she is considered to be "staging". This just means that they will stop for a period of time in one location along their normal migratory route.
There could be several reasons for this behavior.
I think that the best explanation is that Island Girl has found an excellent source of prey (migrant passerines and shorebirds) in the Limon area and is feeding up to replenish her fat reserves, the fuel for her 9,000 mile journey back to Chile.
Rmemeber that not long ago she flew over the ocean for three days, all the way across the entire Gulf of Mexico. That effort had to have cost her alot in burned energy.
Sometimes a staging falcon will hold up because the weather is unfavorable for migration, for example in heavy rains or fog.
Whatever she is doing, we think that the discovery that she stops off in Limon is a great opportunity for someone in Costa Rica to do a study of peregrine behavior in that town. It would be great if we could learn what she is doing, how she is hunting, what she is catching, how she interacts with other migrants using the same towers and everything else that might be happening there.
So there is a short window of opportunity to see what is going on in Limon at this time of year.
Not just for Island Girl, who will be heading south soon, but for all of the migrant peregrines passing through the area.
It is for this reason that we are so thankful to have someone like Marco Saborio in Costa Rica. His efforts have uncovered a whole new aspect of peregrine biology as well as generating new interest in peregrines in that country,