Activity of post-fledging peregrine falcons in different rearing and habitat conditions

Matthew R. Dzialak, Kristina M. Carter, Michael J. Lacki, David F. Westneat, Katie Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


To assist with recovery of Falco peregrinus (Peregrine Falcon) in the southeastern United States, we compared pre-dispersal activity budgets between falcons reintroduced at sites chosen for their contrasting habitats (agriculture vs forest). We also compared behavior of our hacked birds with nearby wild-produced juveniles. We classified pre-dispersal behavior into nine activities depicting flight and non-flight. We logged 901 hr of observation and found that wild-produced falcons spent more time in low flight, soaring, and mock combat during a 4-wk post-fledging period (mean ± 95% CI) than hacked birds. Peregrine Falcons hacked in mixed agricultural habitat spent more time soaring and perching alertly than those hacked in forest habitat; falcons in forest habitat perched inactively with higher frequency. Dispersal time (mean Plusmm; SD) differed among groups (F 2,31 = 11.4, P < 0.001). Falcons hacked in forest habitat spent 15.2 ± 12.2 days on the post-fledging areas before dispersing, whereas those hacked in agricultural habitat spent 31.0 Plusmm; 3.3 days and wild-produced birds spent 35.9 ± 10.1 days. It appeared that transitional habitat supporting available prey and the presence of adults during the post-fledging period were important in the expression of key behavior repertoires including hunting, defense, and social flight activity. Our results suggest that further recovery of the Peregrine Falcon in the southeastern United States would be poorly served by additional hacking, particularly in forest habitat. Rather, managers should continue to monitor and encourage productivity in existing occupied habitat; eventually offspring from occupied habitat may occupy adjacent habitats.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-106
Number of pages14
JournalSoutheastern Naturalist
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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