The Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) was believed to be extinct as a breeding species in Virginia by the mid-1960s. Intensive management efforts since the late 1970s have resulted in a known breeding population that has now exceeded 20 pairs. However, most known breeding pairs currently nests on artificial structures and reproductive performance continues to be erratic. The primary objective of this program is to continue to monitor population trends and to improve reproductive performance through active management. The ultimate goal of the program is to recover a population that is self-sustaining. The Virginia breeding population supported 25 known pairs during the 2011 breeding season. Since 1982, the population has exhibited a steady recovery with an average doubling time of 5.4 years. Fifty-six nesting structures were surveyed for Peregrine Falcon activity during the 2011 breeding season. Occupied nesting structures included 10 peregrine towers and 2 fishing shacks on the Delmarva Peninsula; 6 bridges, 1 retired ship, 1 power plant stack, and 1 high-rise building in the coastal plain; and 4 natural cliff sites in the mountains. Nineteen falcon pairs made breeding attempts producing 59 eggs and 40 chicks that survived to banding age. Reproductive rate was 2.1 chicks/occupied territory and 2.63 chicks/active territory. Of 14 clutches that were followed completely from laying to fledging, 46 of 49 (93.8%) eggs hatched, 36 of the 44 (81.8%) chicks survived to banding age, and at least 19 fledged successfully. Fourteen falcons representing 35% of the chicks produced in the state were translocated from the coast to the mountains during the 2011 breeding season. This included 5 females and 9 males. Three of these chicks originated on bridges that have a history of poor fledging success. The remaining chicks were from towers along the Delmarva Peninsula. Birds collected from territories were transported to Franklin Cliffs in Shenandoah National Park, and Grandview in New River Gorge National River. The management strategy initiated in 2006 to utilize productivity along the Delmarva to fuel targeted hacks in the mountains was continued in 2011. This strategy meets the objective of both repopulating the mountain range and reducing impacts to sensitive waterbirds.
Abundance/Distribution; Breeding/Demography/Population Dynamics; Predator-Prey; Adaptive Management/Limits
Center for Conservation Biology Technical Report Series. College of William and Mary and Virginia Commonwealth University, Williamsburg, VA.
Mojica, E. K., B. D. Watts, and S. M. Padgett. 2011. Virginia Peregrine Falcon Monitoring and Management Program: Year 2011 Report. CCBTR-11-14. Center for Conservation Biology Technical Report Series. College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA. 21 pp.