Jun 26 2013

I’m On A Tight Schedule

Published by at 7:24 am under Migration,Peregrines

Island Girl, 2009 (photo by Bud Anderson from the Southern Cross Research Project)

Late June is an intensely busy time for peregrine parents in North America's mid latitudes. If their nests were successful they have young about to fledge or already on the wing who must become independent in just four to eight weeks.

If you think that's fast, consider the life of an arctic peregrine.

Island Girl, pictured above, is an arctic peregrine tagged with a satellite transmitter in southern Chile in 2009 by the Falcon Research Group. They've tracked her migrations every year in amazing detail, able to determine latitude, longitude and altitude of her roosts and see the neighborhood where she chooses to sleep via Google Earth.

Island Girl nests on Baffin Island, Canada and spends November to April on the coast of southern Chile. To do this she travels nearly 17,000 miles per year.  This spring she left Chile on April 17 and arrived at her eyrie in Canada on June 3, covering 8,868 miles in only 48 days. She got home early.

Here's a screenshot of her trip.  (Click on it to see the real map.)  This is the feat of an athlete!
Screen shot of Island Girl's migration tracking map, Spring 2013 (from Southern Cross Peregrine Project)

Now that she's on her breeding grounds Island Girl has a very compressed schedule. She arrived on June 3 (the day Silver Boy fledged) and absolutely must leave in late September.  Winter comes quickly on Baffin Island so Island Girl always leaves between September 20 and 24.  Always.

This gives her about 111 days to court, lay eggs, incubate, raise nestlings, and teach fledglings.

Her schedule probably looks like this:

  • Courtship and egg laying:  14-18 days, June 3 to June 19.  This is the most optimistic schedule, assuming an established mate, an established territory and no intruders.
  • Incubation: about 32 days, June 19 to July 22
  • Nestling phase: 39 to 45 days, July 22 to September 3
  • Fledged young dependent on parents: 4-8 weeks,  September 3 to October 1 or October 29.

There's barely time to fledge young and begin to teach them before she has to leave for Chile. In fact her kids might leave with her and learn to hunt while traveling.

Arctic peregrines are certainly on a tight schedule!


(Island Girl photo by Bud Anderson and Spring 2013 migration tracking map from the Southern Cross Peregrine Project, Falcon Research Group Click on the images to see the originals)

3 responses so far

3 Responses to “I’m On A Tight Schedule”

  1. Daveon 26 Jun 2013 at 5:12 pm

    Wow, very interesting !
    New to the blog, enjoying it immensely .

  2. Donna Foyleon 27 Jun 2013 at 7:27 am

    Kate, Thanks for the interesting info! After reading this, I started to wonder about her nest site on Baffin Island, i.e., was there a webcam, how many young has she fledged, do her young fly with her and winter in Chile as well… So I clicked on your link about her arrival at her eyrie in Canada. She has a cliff nest above a lake. (I assume no webcam and no one tagging her young) A quick google of Baffin Island gave me the following info: Snow is likely all year long, high temp today is 28º F. Baffin is north of the arctic circle and in some places on Baffin the sun doesn’t set for 2 mos. in summer. There are 2 national parks, several towns/cities; tourism ads offer viewing aurora borealis, viewing polar bears, kayaking between ice floes, ice camping, etc. Thanks again Kate for setting my mind to wondering and learning something new!

  3. Furry Gnomeon 27 Jun 2013 at 1:41 pm

    Amazing. Great that you can share a map showing her migration.

Comments RSS

Leave a Reply