Peregrine Falcon Migration Update: November 8, 1998
Contributed by biologist Geoff Holroyd, Canadian Wildlife Service
Jason Duxbury Reporting for Geoff Holroyd:
Greeting Once Again Peregrine Migration Fans,
This week we join our Peregrine on the move again. Those who bet Jamaica was her next move.... wrong. Those who
bet on another attempt for Venezuela.... wrong as well. She's heading south-west!
Photo: Skip Ambrose
It appears that this year's Peregrine is not as determined to get to her wintering grounds as the one we followed
last year. Those who tuned in last year will remember how Peregrine 5735 v.1 flew like a rocket to Veracruz, Mexico
where she remained for the entire winter. Peregrine 5735 v.2 is taking a much more scenic route (with some influence
from Hurricane Mitch).
Remnants of powerful storm systems may have kept her on Navassa, as her signal indicated she was still in the
same area on November 5 at 8:14 am local time. She may have also been refueling on Navassa's potentially bountiful
supply of prey. However, three days later her signal was no longer in the vicinity of Navassa, but was 640 km (400
miles) south-west of Navassa at 6:01 am local time. (By the way, her local time at this moment is Eastern Standard
Time). This locates her over the Caribbean Sea approximately 450 km (~280 miles) north of the coast of Panama and
around 610km (~380 miles) east of Nicaragua. Basically, in the middle of nowhere with no land in sight.
The next signal location, one hour and 44 minutes later, had our Peregrine 171 km (107 miles) further south-west,
which works out to an amazing average speed of 99 km/h (62 mph)! Try getting that kind of data with band recovery!
Migration route of Peregrine Falcon #5735
Her next location was approximately 10 km (~6 miles) to the north and only around 80 km (50 miles) to the west,
but this leg of her trip took 2 hours and 39 minutes, slowing down to leisurely rate of 30 km/h (19 mph). This
suggests that a) the 171 km flight was aided by a tail wind and the latter flight was fighting some of that tail
wind; b) the 171 km flight tired her out and she simply slowed down; or c) all of the above.
So where is Peregrine 5735 heading? Her path suggests the Colombian islands of Isla de San Andres, Cayos del E.S.E,
and Cayos de Albuquerque. Beyond those islands to the west are islands of Nicaragua. Will she make for the coast
of Central America and then head further south? Does she still want to eventually get to a location in South America
where her original path from Haiti was leading? Or will she stay in Central America? The former would suggest winter
site fidelity, the latter would be an argument against that theory.
PS If this grad student was following the same route as our Peregrine,Isla
de San Andres would be my wintering grounds!
Geoff Holroyd, Research Scientist
Canadian Wildlife Service
Read Geoff Holroyd's final report about #5735 on December 7,
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