January 30, 2007

2007 Winter Bulletin

The Southern Cross Peregrine Expedition:

Our recent fund-raising effort is a tremendous success. We had 197 members donate funds to purchase 8 transmitters for the Southern Cross Expedition. Amounts ranged from $10.00 to $5,000, and each one of them was important to us. So thank you all.

As a result of your generosity and vision, our multi-national team of experts will converge on southern Chile in late February. This includes Tom Maechtle, Mark Prostor, Kathy Gunther, Zach Smith, and Bud Anderson from the US, Christian Gonzalez from Chile, and Jesus Garcia Ubierna, from the Canary Islands in Spain.

The best news is that, in addition to the 8 transmitters that you have provided, Dr. Keith Bildstein (Hawk Mountain Sanctuary) and Dr. Mike McGrady (Natural Resources LTD) have donated two more. These two will be placed on adult males, as little is known about their migration. Another two units were donated by an anonymous source for a total of 12 transmitters, far more than we had expected.

I’d like to thank you all once again. I sincerely hope that you will all be pleased with our results over the next few years.

In addition, we are going to incorporate another exciting new element into this project. Our web gurus, Mark Prostor, Don McCall and Pat Little are all working hard to update the FRG website (www.frg.org) so we can provide daily reports from Chile during the banding effort in February and March. We want to share our results as they are happening with all of you who were so kind to us. We will be well out in the field so we can’t promise we’ll get reports to the web on a daily basis, but we are going to try our best. So please stay tuned in late February and early March to see how it goes.

Again, sincere thanks to everyone for your support.

Entiat Ridge Experimental Hawk Banding Station:

Our skilled, dedicated and wild spirited team of volunteers, lead by Martin Muller and Mark Gleason, set another new record at Entiat Ridge last fall. They banded 395 migrant raptors, including 212 Sharp-shinned Hawks, 89 Cooper’s Hawks, 33 Red-tailed Hawks, 22 Merlins, 19 American Kestrels, 9 Northern Goshawks, 6 Peregrine Falcons, 5 Prairie Falcons and 1 Rough-legged Hawk (bold indicates new records). This was our sixth and most productive year at Entiat, 9 miles NE of Leavenworth, WA.

We also had a record number of both new volunteers and visitors to our mountain site. It became clearly apparent that we have outgrown our blind and will need to expand in size next fall.

Thank you to everyone involved, especially our trappers, for all of your help. Thanks to both Longview Fibre for their continued permission to conduct the study on their land and Eagle Creek Ranch for their logistical support.

Success At Last for the Ladies Tea and Trapping Society:

This year at Entiat, a finely-honed, all woman team lead by Susie Q. Hindman and Dalene Keith managed to set a long-sought new record for the number of hawks banded in a single day at our station. They caught and banded 26 raptors, surpassing our old record handily. Congratulations to them all. The men stand with our heads held down in shame. At least until next year.

Skagit Flats Annual Winter Hawk Count:

The count will take place on Saturday, 10 February from 9-11 AM. As usual, meet at the Padilla Bay Center after you complete your route. The count is being coordinated this year by Ed Deal (Seattle) and Roger Johnson (Sedro Woolley). They will be contacting the route leaders soon. If you are new to the count and would like to participate, please contact Ed (206) 723-4742 or Roger at (360) 856-0870.

New Raptor Book:

I’d like to bring this book to the attention of all FRG members. The Raptors of California, by Hans and Pam Peeters and published by the University of California (2005)is, to me, the single best raptor book ever published. The artwork alone is superb and worth the price of the book. But more importantly, the information and insights are excellent and are obviously the result of a lifetime dedicated to observing and living with raptors. This little book is what all raptor books want to be when they grow up. See more of his art work at www.peeters.homestead.com and look under raptor paintings.

San Juan Island Peregrines:

We continued to monitor the San Juan Island (SJI) breeding population of peregrines last summer. This was the 31st year of the survey. Our goals have always been to gather accurate data on the number of active pairs present, their production of young and to identify the types of prey species they utilize. We basically want to understand what goes on among peregrines in the San Juans and to make sure they are doing OK.

This year, the islands still supported 20 occupied territories although some shifting among sites occurred. Observers found three new active cliffs but three others became unoccupied. All of the pairs use natural cliff sites. From 28 May through 8 July, we banded 33 eyasses (nestlings) at 12 eyries, a new record for islands and for the strikingly handsome, manly and stalwart SJI banding team (Martin Muller, Ed Deal, Mark Prostor and Bud Anderson).

Our purpose is to discover what happens to these birds, e.g. where do they go, how long do they live and what kills them. This was the twelfth year we have banded eyasses in the islands. Our total there is now 253 nestling peregrines.

FRG Website Wants Your Photos:

Pat Little suggests giving our members the opportunity to contribute their favorite three digital raptor photos to the FRG website. If you’d like your photos to represent our organization (with acknowledgement), please send them directly to Pat at redtail@cablespeed.com. Add date, location and description if possible.

Long-billed Hawk Update:

More good news! USGS toxicologist, Dr. Chuck Henny, has arranged a small grant to support some much- needed clinical research on long-billed hawks. He is directing it to Dr. Lindsay Oaks, of WSU. Lindsay is a veterinarian and virologist with great experience working with raptors. He famously discovered the cause of the recent vulture deaths in SE Asia.

Our banding team is now starting to capture local long-billed Red-tails to send to WSU for examination. This is an excellent start towards discovering the cause of the syndrome.

In the meantime, Buzz Hull of the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory in CA, reports the first long-bill record in a Red-shouldered Hawk and another source in Boise reports the first long-billed Barn Owl.

New FRG Logo:

Our new logo depicts a migrant adult female tundra Peregrine Falcon. It was painted by Hans Peeters, a renowned US raptor artist www.peeters.homestead.com and very kindly donated to our Southern Cross Peregrine Expedition. The painting depicts the type of migrant falcon we will be tagging in Chile in February/March. Thank you Hans.

We added a compass rose for two reasons. First, throughout history, a compass rose has always accompanied great adventures. Second, it symbolizes the compass direction our birds will fly to South America.

Hawkwatching Classes:

I’ll be presenting our traditional FRG class, Hawkwatching in Western Washington, in Seattle, Mt. Vernon and Bellingham this year. Please pass on the information to friends, family and potential hawkwatchers. This is still one of the best ways to get involved with hawks through our FRG field projects.

City/Location Date Location
Seattle 17 Jan.-14 Feb. Discovery Park visitor Center
Mt. Vernon 18 Jan.-15 Feb. Padilla Bay Interpretive Center
Bellingham 30 Jan.-27 Feb. Whatcom County Museum

Cost is still $135.00 per person. To reserve your space, please send a check to the FRG, Box 248, Bow, WA 98232. For more information, contact Bud at (360) 757-1911 or bud@frg.org

Annual Dues:

For those of you that kindly contributed to the Southern Cross Peregrine Expedition, please skip this part of the newsletter. You have already donated this year. For everyone else, if you like what we are doing and would like to help the FRG, we’d appreciate your support.

Dues are $25.00 per year. You can send a check to FRG, Box 248, Bow, WA 98232. Happy New Year to you all.

A Final Note:

The FRG is staffed almost entirely by a group of very dedicated volunteers. I wanted to say thank you to everyone (named and unnamed) and let you know that I deeply appreciate your efforts. You are very important to the successful operation of the organization as you can clearly see from the work described in this newsletter.

If any of you have any questions about hawks or the FRG, I look forward to hearing from you in the future.

Sincerely, Bud Andersen
FRG President