21 April, 2015

Return to Antofagasta, pigeon capitol of Chile?

On Monday, this wonderful peregrine, Island Girl, flew down to the Pacific coastline and followed it north. She seems to have stayed right on the coastline route throughout the day, passing Chanaral and Taltal before arriving at Antofagasta once again.

Our team knows this area well as we spent a fair amount of time trapping here in the past.

The major draw here for a peregrine is the huge abundance of food in the form of pigeons and doves. There are huge clouds of them in this grain shipment city, no doubt a welcome sight for a migrant, hungry peregrine.

She slept just above town, about 1.3 miles up in a dry, rocky draw at 2,650' elevation. She was only 3.7 miles from the coast.

I cannot help but think that she remembers this city, having migrated through here so many times before. Was there any forethought as she followed the coastline north? Does she think? Does she think about the availability of food? Does she navigate from memory? These are all questions for which we have no answers.

Antofagasta is a very popular town in Chile and has been undergoing a surge in growth.

As I examined her roost site on Google Earth, I realized that Island Girl had roosted only about 4 miles from where we had caught Sparrow King near the northern edge of Anto several years ago.

Looking at this site, a gigantic chicken farm, on GE I now saw that housing developments had overtaken the area. In fact, just to the west of the trapping site, there is a gigantic resort and housing development situated near the thundering rocky shoreline.

If you look at Highway 1 where it dog legs leaving town, you can see a large high rise hotel or condo and especially, a giant aquamarine swimming pool or should I say small lake with white sandy beaches for the guests/residents.

Chile keeps growing in the desert.

Kind of wish I was there....


Pam Rhine said...

Thanks for your insight Bud. It's a pleasure to read your posts.

Bud Anderson said...

Thanks Pam. I never know if anyone is reading these posts so I guess I am writing for you. Nice to know you are out there enjoying this remarkable bird. My friend, Tom Maechtle, thinks we should put her in the Guinness Book of Records!