Yesterday, my son, Beau, and I were attending a meeting in Seattle when I got a call from Don McCall saying that Island Girl had arrived back at Putu once again. Thanks Don, as always!
She had flown the last 167 km (104 miles) from Santo Domingo south to her favorite river, the Rio Mataquito, on the Chilean coast one more time. She had arrived there by at least 2 PM although probably somewhat earlier. Her first signal showed her perched up on a forested hillside overlooking her favorite hunting area, the dunes, open fields and estuary that she knows so well.
She had successfully completed her fifth round trip migration from South America to North America and back while carrying a GPS solar powered satellite transmitter. She had completed at least two additional round trips on her own before that (we had first captured her in full adult plumage, i.e. at least two years old).
We are pretty sure that this is a world record for a satellite tagged peregrine although if anyone is aware of others out there please let us know. Certainly it is a record for what we call a "deep peregrine", one of those extra special tundra birds that for some reason or other, go the farthest south of all peregrines.
Southern Arrival Data
# YEAR DATE NO. DAYS
1. 2009 19 November 59 days
2. 2010 9 November 48 days
3. 2011 12 November 53 days
4. 2012 15 November 51 days
5. 2013 16 November 57 days
Average southbound migration days=53.6
Average date of arrival= 14 November
This remarkable bird, Island Girl, continues to teach and inspire us all with her epic journeys across the hemispheres. And, like many of you out there, I feel so honored to be alive at this time to join her, know her and be amazed by her.
So what does the future hold for her?
We will have to wait and see if her transmitter continues to function. If so, we plan to continue with this blog for as long as it keeps on going. But there is no way that anyone can predict the life span of the radio. We just have to wait and see.
In closing for the year, thanks to all, especially Don McCall, Kathy Gunther, Marco Saborio, Christian Gonzalez, Oscar Beingolea, Nancy Hilgert and Mark Prostor for all of their support this year and in the past.
Here is Kathy holding Island Girl after originally capturing her in 2008 the year before we tagged her.
A very special thank you goes to Daphne Morris who most kindly provided the funding for the satellite transmitter time this year so you could all watch the migration. Much gratitude from all Daphne!
I must also thank all members of the Falcon Research Group for starting and contributing to this project so long ago, well before the term "crowd-sourcing" became popular.
And finally, thanks to all of you guys, her fans, for reading this blog. Glad you all appreciate her.
Here is a photo of Island Girl from when Kathy first caught her in 2008