Recovery Plan Update
2006 Interim Report - October 12, 2006
Download the Recovery Program Interim Report (PDF)
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Peregrine Falcon Recovery
RECOVERY PLAN UPDATE 2005
Parkland Mews is pleased to announce the first captive breeding of Peregrine Falcons in the Province of Manitoba as part of the ongoing efforts to assist this species at risk. The outcome would not have been possible without project partners City of Winnipeg, Manitoba Conservation and Manitoba Hydro. Their support and that of volunteers and summer staff is very much appreciated.
An element of risk was involved in the decision making process when the adult Peregrines were transferred from the captive breeding facility in December 2004 to temporary, but warmer, indoor over-wintering enclosures. The adults were moved back to the captive breeding facility March 17, 2005 and continued their courtship ritual. Eggs were laid by the third week of April and all four hatched during the week of May 22nd.
Both the Manitoba Peregrine Falcon Recovery Plan and Strategy are included in this section for additional reading.
here to read Parkland Mews Recovery Plan in PDF Format
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus is a migratory bird of prey
that inhabits the tundra, boreal forest, prairie, agricultural
areas and urban settings in Manitoba. Berger and Nero (1992)
state the following: The available evidence indicates
historically, the Peregrine Falcon should be regarded as a
rare but indigenous nesting species in Manitoba.
Scientific Name: Falco peregrinus anatum
Common Name: Peregrine Falcon.
Current Manitoba Status: Endangered.
Breeding Range in Manitoba: Southern Manitoba.
Rationale for Status: A sudden decline in the known breeding
Known Number of Nesting
Sites in Manitoba
Six sites. Five urban and one rural (historic).
Rate of Population Decline
Manitoba Peregrine Falcon nest occupancy peaked in 1995 with
a total of four breeding sites being documented as active.
From this peak, occupancy dropped to three for the next two
years and fell further with pairs present at two sites 1998-2000.
In 2001, a single site remained occupied by a mother and son
pairing. This represents a decline of 75% of the known breeding
population within seven years. The cause of recruitment failure
is unknown despite a successful breeding and release program
for the mid- west continent during the period.
Limiting Intrinsic Factors
Early mortality is the single biggest limiting factor facing
Peregrine Falcons in Manitoba. There are numerous causes that
can be attributed to this early mortality such as starvation
due to a lack of necessary hunting skills or sufficient prey.
Peregrines do not normally nest until the age of two. During
this time there are long annual migrations to and from their
wintering grounds in Central and South America. First year
mortality has been estimated as high as 70%. Of the 138 Peregrines
documented leaving Manitoba, 12 were known to have completed
the round trip. These figures represent both hacked and wild-bred
birds over a time span of two decades. For this reason a large
part of the strategy does target life history features such
as juvenile mortality and migration as a conservation focus.
Great Horned owls and mammalian predators appear consistently
in the literature regarding threats against Peregrine Falcons.
An emerging threat to birds of prey is the West Nile Virus.
What impact, if any, this poses for Peregrines is yet to be
determined. However for Peregrines held in captivity the virus
could prove to be problematic unless a vaccine can be developed
in time. Climatic factors such as extreme cold at unseasonable
times of the year may cause egg failure. Young dispersing
from urban nest sites surrounded by agriculture areas with
grain crops typical of southern Manitoba landscapes could
be at risk. Peregrines on formative flying excursions may
be prevented from opening its wings if landing in a field
containing tall stem crops such as wheat or sunflowers. Collisions
are a significant factor of early mortality in young Peregrines.
Olendorff and Lehman (1986) report Peregrine Falcon collisions
with transmission lines to have a mortality rate of 83 percent.
The Peregrines speed during pursuit is thought to be a contributing
factor in fatal collisions.
Mews Recovery Action Concept
The concept that may best describe the Manitoba recovery action
relies heavily on the falconry aspect known as hack. It could
be described as a form of falconry furlough. Trained
falcons are maintained in a state of protective liberty as
much as is humanly possible to do so. The birds are free flying
during the day, and as a result of special training take refuge
in a protective roost at night where they are kept safe from
predators. The protected roost site serves as an eyrie during
spring. This concept allows us to work in a manner that is
a little closer to nature, and yet offers enough protection
to achieve the desired result.
The author began experimenting with this concept
in 1987 with New Zealand Falcons. The birds were maintained
for long periods thoughout the year in a free flying state
after they had be habituated to a modified structure that
served as a roost/nest site. The different pairs of falcons
used in this research would roost in the structure or a nearby
tree each evening and for the most part not only catch their
own food but also defend the immediate roost area. Indeed
it was possible to be away from the property for two or three
days at a time and come back and find the birds still in residence.
Further experimentation lead to the establishment
of a nesting pair on a vineyard where they served as a form
of natural control against bird pest species damaging the
grapes. This pair of New Zealand Falcons laid eggs and incubated
them to full term although the eggs turned out to be infertile.
The work that began in 1987 continued until 1993, during this
time the falcons remained responsive to either calling to
the glove, the lure or to tossed food. The birds also displayed
strong attachment to their roost each evening and were easily
secured inside when it was deemed appropriate (R. Wheeldon,
The intent of the Manitoba plan is to accomplish two goals.
The first is to develop a made-in-Manitoba solution for sustaining
nesting pairs of Peregrine Falcons in the province so as to
conserve this rare species. The second goal is to achieve
a change in status from Endangered under the Endangered
Species Act to Protected under the Wildlife Act.
- Development of Specially Designed
One of the key aspects of the recovery strategy involves the
construction of specially designed flight enclosures featuring
a model nest site. The enclosures are considered critical
for the following reasons.
a) They will serve as a holding facility until
the birds are of breeding age
b) They will facilitate research aspects of the project with
regards to the behaviour modification process, especially
the imprinting on model nest sites.
c) The enclosures will allow for assessment for pairing compatibility
prior to release as adults.
Securing the necessary resources for the development
of the flight enclosures is ranked as a first priority.
the Parkland Mews Breeding For Release Program
The breeding for release option provides the means by which
a recovery process can begin. As the intent is for release,
only pure anatum stock is used. Aspects to be considered include
a) The source of captive breeding stock
b) The genetic assessment of pairs
c) The genetic compatibility of pairs
d) The suitability for breeding
e) The evaluation of breeding performance
f) Seasonal management regimes and record keeping
g) Support resources; incubator room, brooder room, and game
bird production unit.
Managing the Parkland
Mews Peregrine Falcon Development Program
Post Hatching to Post Fledging.
Considerations include the following:
a) Early development of the chicks
b) Later development of the chicks
c) Imprinting on the parents
d) Imprinting on siblings
e) Environmental imprinting
f) Habituation and conditioning
g) Development of survival responses
h) Record keeping and review process
Managing the Parkland
Mews Falconry Program
Aspects to be considered include the following.
Equipment and Facilities
a) Gloves, hoods, anklets, jesses, swivels, leashes, perches,
b) Mews design
c) Flight enclosure design
d) Weathering yard design
e) Hack tower design and placement
of Falconry Birds
a) Development of Peregrines post fledging
b) Training, habituating, conditioning, hunting
c) Preparing for life on the tower
d) Maintaining at tame hack
e) Maintaining through each season year one
f) Maintaining through each season year two
g) Record keeping and review process
Managing the Parkland
Mews Breeding at Tame Hack Program
a) Selection of individuals as prospective mates
b) Assessment of pairs for compatibility
c) Management of pairs during courtship
d) Management of pairs during nesting
e) Management of pairs and progeny
f) Management of pairs and young post breeding season
g) Record keeping and review process
Actions Already Completed
In July of 1999 Manitoba Conservation received a proposal
from Parkland Mews concerning recovery action for the Peregrine
Falcon in Manitoba. The author was issued a license under
Manitobas Endangered Species Legislation permitting
the acquisition of Peregrine Falcons.
By summer 2000 a resource building comprising
of two basic flight enclosures, office, shop, Game bird production
area, brooder incubator room and mews along with separate
weathering yards were completed.
In 2001 another female Peregrine had been acquired
and a hack-breeding tower constructed at the Parkland Mews
location due to the generosity of Manitoba Hydro.
During 2002 experimental work was conducted
maintaining a Red-Tailed Hawk at hack on the breeding release
tower for five weeks until migration, as a precursor to using
Peregrine Falcons. Additionally at the request of Manitoba
Conservation the Executive Director of Parkland Mews wrote
both a Recovery Plan and a Recovery Strategy for the Peregrine
Falcon in Manitoba.