Overview

Distribution

occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: (250-20,000 square km (about 100-8000 square miles)) Breeds from the Aleutian Islands (and occassionally the Pribilof Islands) and the islands off the coast of southeastern Alaska, south to the Queen Charlotte and Moore islands in British Columbia. Winters from the Queen Charlotte Islands and southwestern British Columbia, south along the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and California, rarely to northern Baja California. Apparently resident on the central Aleutian Islands. Reported on the Commander and Kuril islands of Russia, and possibly Japan (American Ornithologists' Union 1957, Gabrielson and Lincoln 1959, Beebe 1960, 1974).

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Range

Coastal w North America (Aleutian Islands to Washington).

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Physical Description

Type Information

Cotype for Falco peregrinus pealei
Catalog Number: USNM 45814
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Birds
Sex/Stage: Female; Immature
Preparation: Skin: Whole
Collector(s): F. Bischoff
Year Collected: 1866
Locality: Sitka, Baranof Island, Sitka Division, Alaska, United States, North America
  • Cotype: Ridgway. December 1873. Bull. Essex Inst. 5: 201.
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Cotype for Falco peregrinus pealei
Catalog Number: USNM A12022
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Birds
Sex/Stage: Female; Immature
Preparation: Skin: Whole
Collector(s): Collector Unknown
Locality: Puget Sound, Washington, United States, North America
  • Cotype: Ridgway. December 1873. Bull. Essex Inst. 5: 201.
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Ecology

Habitat

Comments: Coastal beaches, tidal flats, reefs, islands, marshes, estuaries and lagoons. Nests mostly found on ledges of vertical rocky cliffs in the vicinity of seabird colonies; some nests on grassy benches of rocky bluffs. Heights of nests range from 12 to 366 meters. Many nests sheltered by overhanging grass, sods, rocks, tree roots, salal or mosses (Beebe 1960, Campbell et al. 1990, Nelson 1990).

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Migration

Non-Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species do not make significant seasonal migrations. Juvenile dispersal is not considered a migration.

Locally Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

Most breeding adults apparently remain on the breeding grounds, although some adults and juveniles do migrate; individuals from the Queen Charlotte Islands have been observed as far south as California (R. W. Nelson, pers. comm.).

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Population Biology

Number of Occurrences

Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.

Estimated Number of Occurrences: 81 to >300

Comments: An estimated 600 pairs of Peale's peregrines are believed to occur in Alaska (Ambrose et al. 1988) and 100 in British Columbia (Munro 1988).

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Global Abundance

1000 - 2500 individuals

Comments: An estimated 600 breeding pairs of Peale's peregrines are believed to occur in Alaska (Ambrose et al. 1988) and an additional 100 pairs in British Columbia (Munro 1988).

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General Ecology

Young usually disperse some distance, in some cases up to 300 kilometers away (R. W. Nelson, pers. comm.). Of approximately 140 color-banded nestlings from Langara Island, only 5 males and 1 female have been found nesting at Langara (R. W. Nelson, pers. comm.).

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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N3 - Vulnerable

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N3 - Vulnerable

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: T3 - Vulnerable

Reasons: Uncommon resident throughout its range (Munro 1988, Ambrose et al. 1988, Campbell et al 1990).

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Global Short Term Trend: Relatively stable (=10% change)

Comments: Believed to be stable across its range, but at somewhat reduced levels in British Columbia (Munro 1990, Campbell et al. 1990, Nelson 1990).

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Threats

Degree of Threat: B : Moderately threatened throughout its range, communities provide natural resources that when exploited alter the composition and structure of the community over the long-term, but are apparently recoverable

Comments: Potential global threats include loss of prey to oil spill contamination, sublethal poisoning of seabird prey by pesticide and industrial pollutants, introduced predators (eg. rats) on islands with colonies of seabird prey (Munro 1988, Nelson 1991).

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Management

Biological Research Needs: More information is needed on the ecological dependence of the peregrines on their prey, particularly seabirds, and how this relationship may affect long-term viability of the species.

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Global Protection: Many to very many (13 to >40) occurrences appropriately protected and managed

Comments: Protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act and the Endangered Species Act (similarity of appearance) in the United States and by the Migratory Bird Treaty and Wildlife Act in Canada. Included in British Columbia's "Blue" list (currently considered a sensitive/vulnerable subspecies and a candidate for vulnerable status). International movement of captive peregrines is controlled under CITES (Convention on the International Transport of Endangered Species) protection.

Needs: Prevent the introduction on nonendemic predators to islands with seabird colonies (primary food source). Develop emergency response plans for protecting important seabird colonies in the event of an oil spill.

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Wikipedia

Peale's Falcon

Peale's Falcon, Falco peregrinus pealei, is a subspecies of the Peregrine Falcon. This race was first identified by the ornithologist Robert Ridgway in 1873, named in honor of Titian Ramsay Peale. These birds are the largest subspecies of Peregrines (on average) anywhere in the world.

Description[edit]

Measurements for male F. p. pealei are as follows: length 16.3 in. (41.4 cm), wingspan 36.2 in. (92.1 cm), wing chord 12.60-13.58 in. (320–345 mm). For females: length 18.7 in. (48 cm), wingspan 43.6 in. (110.8 cm), wing chord 14.29-15.39 in. (363–391 mm)[1]

Weight range for male F. p. pealei are 28.57-37.32 oz. (810-1,058 g), averaging 33.65 oz. (954 g); females range 43.88-56.33 oz. (1,244-1,597 g), averaging 49.31 oz. (1,398 g).[2]

The adults are generally identified by the presence of heavy horizontal barring across their abdomen, large "tear-drop" shaped markings on their breast (more pronounced in the females) extending up into the auriculars, a white, smokey-white, or grayish background color on the breast (as opposed to the salmon to orangish background color on most other subspecies), very broad malar stripe to a full dark cap, and wider, stronger mandibles than is commonly seen in the species as a whole.

Immature birds are overall very dark, having little to no buff colored edging to the feathers of the mantle. Nearly completely dark heads and very heavily streaked ventral markings. Retrices are usually unbarred. Feet and cere color varies from light blue to light yellow.

Distribution, Habitat, and Population Status[edit]

The breeding range of F. p. pealei is a rather linear one being entirely coastal in orientation. Starting in the western part of the range, the Commander Islands are generally thought to be the extent to which they exist in Russia. Although they are speculatively referenced as nesting on the Kamchatka Peninsula and possibly the northern Kurile Islands, no evidence has been provided to support these locations. From the Commander Islands eastward they are found throughout the Aleutian Islands to the Sanak Islands, Cherni Island, Deer Island, the Pavlof Islands, and the Shumagin Islands. This area constitutes the western sub-population of F. p. pealei and is an estimated 375-580 breeding pairs[3] strong in Alaskan territory and 20-25 pairs in Russian territory. This group has a very uniformely and densely distributed population, with roughly 5–8 miles of coastline between each eyrie on average.[3] This group also has a tendency to be more uniform in morphology.

The Alexander Archipelago, Queen Charlotte Islands, portions of the British Columbia coast, the outer coast of Vancouver Island, and the Olympic Peninsula make up the eastern sub-population of F. p. pealei. The highest density of Peregrines anywhere in the world was recorded on Langara Island in the middle 1950's. Ten nests being occupied in a single small bay of only 7.5 mi (12 km) of coastline, and a total of 21 nests on the whole island.[2] Unfortunately this astounding concentration of Peregrine falcons was intimately linked to the very robust local seabird population that has declined since the 1950s due to unknown factors. Possible culprits for the decline include introduced non-native predators of seabirds such as rats and raccoons, coupled with possible changes brought on by human activities in the oceanic food chain on which the seabird colonies depend. The Peregrine population of Langara Island is now believed to be about 25% of what it once was.[4] The current population of the eastern sub-group of F. p. pealei is about 20 breeding pairs in Washington, about 100 pairs in British Columbia, and about another 100 pairs in the Alexander Archipelago.

Along the south side of the Alaska Peninsula, the Kodiak Islands, portions of Cook Inlet, the Kenai Peninsula, Prince William Sound, and eastward to Glacier Bay constitutes the central sub-population of F. p. pealei. This area is marked by a decidedly lower population density than either the eastern or western populations. This fact and the slightly different morphology of this sub-group has caused some confusion amongst researchers as to the validity of F. p. pealei existing within this range.[2][5]

Specifically within this range, the Peale's Falcon can be found on rough, rocky seashores, sea cliffs, seastacks, islands, islets, and beaches.

Hunting and Food Habits[edit]

The Peale's falcon is known to concentrate its hunting efforts on Alcids. In fact the subspecies is well known to nest very near seabird colonies for the convenience of close hunting grounds. However this is not necessary for a successful eyrie. In a study on Amchitka Island from 1968-1973, it was found that an average of 18.6 eyries on the island (over the course of the study) were in no close proximity to seabird colonies as no sizable colonies existed on the island.[3] Instead, these large, robust birds fly out to sea to hunt up to 50 miles from land, rather than inland toward the interior. Which is quite an impressive physical feat as they must either eat their prey while flying or carry the prey back to land to perch and then consume it, as Peregrines are not known to be able to rest and stay afloat on water as seabirds do. Preferred species on Amchitka consisted of: Crested Auklet (Aethia cristatella), 26.48% of the diet's biomass; Ancient Murrelet (Synthliboramphus antiquus), 17.18% of the biomass; and Alcids as a group provided 65.52% of the biomass.[6]

Other important prey species that this specialized population of Peregrines are fond of are Fork-tailed Storm-Petrels, Leach's Storm-Petrels, and Black-legged Kittiwakes.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wheeler, Brian K. 2003 Raptors of Western North America. Princeton University Press. pp.467.
  2. ^ a b c Bebee, F. L. 1960. The marine peregrines of the Northwest Pacific Coast. Condor. 62: 145-189.
  3. ^ a b c White, C. M., 1975. Studies on Peregrine Falcons in the Aleutian Islands, in Population Status of Raptors, J. R. Murphy, C. M. White, and B. E. Harrell (Eds.), Raptor Research Report, No. 3, Raptor Research Foundation, Inc., Vermillion, South Dakota, pp.33-50.
  4. ^ Nelson, R. W., and M. T. Myers. 1977. Declines in populations of Peregrine Falcons and their seabird prey at Langara Island, British Columbia. Condor. 78:281-293.
  5. ^ White, Clayton M. 2006. Peregrine Quest: From a Naturalist's Field Notebook. Western Sporting.
  6. ^ White, C. M., W. B. Emison, and F. S. L. Williamson, 1973, DDE in a Resident Aleutian Island Peregrine Population, Condor, 75: 306-311.
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