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Peregrines Poised at the Halfway Point

October 1, 2013

PEFA TOP STORY

At 1485 Peregrine Falcons tallied for the 2013 season, we have counted more than half of the species’ yearly average by now. Peregrine Falcons average 2144 birds each fall season from the Curry Hammock count site. The following are “southbound-only” numbers (2013 still counting through early Nov.):

PEFA per year chart

The 2012 count was remarkable for achieving the highest count of Peregrines documented during an entire season anywhere in the world (3836) and for a single day (651 on Oct. 10). Interestingly, the chart above at a glance demonstrates a rather steady increase of Peregrines from 2005 to 2013, interrupted by 2009, when no count was conducted and 2010 – a count that ended prematurely and was covered by only 70% of the average seasonal count hours.

PEREGRINES COMPOSITE END OF SEPT2013

Who’s to know what the 2013 season will bring? Since September 26, we have tallied 5 three-digit Peregrine counts, including Sept. 27’s stellar 429 – the fourth highest count in FKH history, and Sept. 30’s 227 – another top count.

TOP FLIGHTS OF PEFA FKH to 2013So when is the best time to visit the Florida Keys Hawkwatch to see many Peregrines? Mid-October still seems like a good bet.

Last year, by the first of October (2012), we had tallied 958 Peregrines. This year we are ahead by 527 birds. If flights continue steady into mid-October, we could wind-up with another memorable count season!

PEFA COMP2Come visit the Peregrine Falcon migration capital of the world – in the Florida Keys!

Photo by Rafael Galvez. Leica V-Lux 4.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. October 1, 2013 10:59 pm

    Rafael, the other day I made a comment on a listserv that I believe the rising trend of Peregrines in recent years at FKH is attributed to (in great part) by the quality of the team you have assembled and the number of quality observers assisting in recent years versus the earlier years at Curry Hammock. With a certain loss of habitat for both Peregrines and its prey, I can’t see the numbers of Peregrines expanding to the degree the trend is rising at FKH. If this is true, this would make a declining trend is American Kestrels even more sad if the trend does continue lower while quality of the counters and observers has increased.

  2. Susan Daughtrey permalink
    October 2, 2013 9:05 am

    That’s excellent! Thanks for the great report, Rafael, and for all that you do.

  3. October 2, 2013 12:26 pm

    Excellent! How are you doing on Merlins? Every time I look up at cape Florida there is a Merlin or two going over.

    • October 4, 2013 8:07 pm

      Merlins are still a bit slow. They are certainly around, but when you compare to the large number of Peregrine Falcon we get during migration, their numbers seem to pale. There movement is relatively continuous through the fall, so we are always hopeful of a good Merlin year down here.

  4. Murray Gardler permalink
    October 3, 2013 6:19 pm

    Hope to see you with Carl this month!

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