Fall's Journey South
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September 22, 1997
"This female is serious about escaping winter in the north," remarked Holroyd after receiving news of the falcon's 3 day trip from Pierre, South Dakota to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
Thanks to Geoff Holroyd and his colleagues for sharing this exciting story with us! Here is Holroyd's report. Read carefully and see if this falcon flew over your head on her way to Mexico! (Be sure to let us know: email@example.com)
"On July 8, Mark Bradley (NWT Wildlife Service), Eugene Taylor (Warden, Wood Buffalo National Park) and I trapped a nesting female Peregrine Falcon on the Peace River in northern Alberta. The female had three young on a ledge on an island in the Peace River (59.179N; 112.672W). We outfitted the female with a microwave transmitter that is received by NOAA satellite and the location of the transmitter is sent to a ground station and ultimately to me. I thought that you would be interested in following this female as she fledges her young and moves south.
"From July 8 until August 17 she remained within 15 km of her nest. On August 17, she was 11 km north-east of the nest site, within daily hunting range. The next location on August 20 placed her over Robertson Lake in central Wood Buffalo National Park about 37 km north-northwest of the nest site.
"On 27 August she was in Saskatchewan, about 50 northeast of North Battleford (near Mayfair). Three days later (August 30) she was at Wolverine Lake, about 100 km east of Saskatoon. So she is on the move headed towards her unknown winter home. She traveled over 900 km from her nest from August 20 to 30.
"After being at Wolverine Lake on 30 August, the peregrine was south of Pierre, South Dakota on 2 September, and just south of Oklahoma City on 5 September! This female is serious about escaping winter in the north.
"From the 30 August to 2 September she traveled about 1050km (in 3 days) and from 2-5 September she traveled about 930 km. She is traveling at a straight line distance of 330 km/day. Her direction during these 6 days is almost a precise straight line on a bearing of approximately 160 degrees.
"This line has her reaching the Gulf coast just west of Houston. It will be interesting to see if she heads across the Gulf or turns and follows the coast through Padre Island where peregrines are known to migrate.
"Hope to have an update soon.
Update: September 22nd, 1997
"The delay in sending you an update on the migration of female 5735 was caused by a change of email address at Boise University. We are not back in communication and have 2 new locations of the falcon to report.
"On September 8, she was 70 km east of Austin Texas, a distance of 530 km from her location south of Oklahoma City on 5 September.
"On September, 11 she was 80 km south of Veracruz, Mexico, a straight line distance of 1400 km in 3 days, or 466 km per day!!! Given that she likely followed the coast she traveled over 500 km per day! Awesome.
"As of September 22nd, the female has remained in the same area near Veracruz as she was on September 11, 14, 17. I do not know yet if this will be her final destination or if this is a stopover."