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Title: Supplementary Feeding, Plumage Documentation and Early Season Prey of Peregrine Falcons at the New Mexico Alpha Eyrie

A review of what is known about avian physiology and the biological effects of DDE suggests that some benefit to peregrine falcon egg condition could be attained by artificially feeding DDE free prey to the female from the time of her arrival on the nesting grounds until completion of egg laying; the magnitude of potential benefit is unknown. Sporadic efforts in the past demonstrated the need for precision methods of prey delivery. Two methods were developed and tried; providing dead prey items by dropping them in a day perch, and delivery of live prey by remotely controlled release from compartments positioned at the top of the cliff occupied by the falcons. Maintaining quail in the day perch for 21 days resulted in at least one and probably two meals for the female peregrine. Of 16 live birds released (mostly pigeons) 13 were pursued and three caught. Blinding the pigeons with tape proved to be necessary to enable capture. Also, some reluctance of the male peregrine to attack pigeons was observed, and problems with equipment, visibility, and the proximity of the falcons to the release box were encountered. Manpower was the most significant resource requirement. Baiting of great-horned owls, possibly leadingmore » to owl attack on the falcons, is judged to be the largest detrimental effect of supplemental feeding. It is recommended that supplemental feeding be reserved for falcons or eyries where complete reproductive failure is expected. Plumage documentation photography was successfully conducted by a remotely controlled camera as an aid to identification of individual falcons. American robin, red-winged blackbird, starling, white-throated swift, bluebird, and mourning dove were among natural prey consumed by the peregrines before completion of egg laying. All activities in close proximity to the cliff were conducted at night to preclude direct disturbance of the falcons.« less
  1. Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
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Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Los Alamos National Lab. (LANL), Los Alamos, NM (United States)
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Country of Publication:
United States
Basic Biological Sciences(59); Environmental Sciences(54) Biological Science; peregrine falcon, prey, plumage documentation, pesticides, DDT, DDE, organochlorine