The Gyrfalcon Project is on the Ground in Alaska

by Bryce W. Robinson

Adult female Gyrfalcon- Falco rusticolus

I’m in Alaska to start the first field season of The Peregrine Fund’s Gyrfalcon Project. I landed only three days ago, and hit the search for nests right away. At this point, the earliest nesting Gyrfalcons will have hatching eggs any day. For my research, I need to find them before they hatch.

Gyrfalcon Eyrie

Already I’ve located two occupied territories, with one nest well into incubation. With the help of my friend and field assistant Neil, I made my first entry into an eyrie yesterday to assess nest age, and gather other important data. While I was in the nest, Neil took advantage of the disturbance and documented two very responsible adult Gyrfalcons as they circled and watched my intrusion.

Adult Female Gyrfalcon- Falco rusticolus

After we finished our tasks of data collection, we left the nest. When we reached a distance of approximately 500 meters from the nest cliff, we turned around and took a look at the nest. We were happy to see the female had already returned to the nest to resume incubation. While I was in the nest, I was able to see that one egg had pipped, meaning that in a couple of days there will be some newly hatched Gyrfalcons.

Stay tuned as the summer progresses. There will be numerous reports over the course of the season. Soon there will be nestlings, and I’ll be there to photograph them. You can find out more about this work on ornithologi’s Gyrfalcon Project page, and be sure to check out the Peregrine Fund’s website and consider supporting my work, and raptor conservation as a whole. Here’s to a successful summer, with loads of Gyrfalcon’s!