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A falcon legacy


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Skip Ambrose hasn’t missed an American peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) nesting season in 40 years. Through binoculars and spotting scopes, he has watched the population on the upper Yukon River in Alaska climb from 12 nesting pairs in 1973 to 60 pairs in 2012, a level that holds steady today. Now, his surveys make up one of the longest-running, most consistent wildlife monitoring studies ever conducted — a scientific treasure capturing the entire saga of a species’ recovery. The TWS member, now 70, published his survey data this spring in The Journal of Wildlife Management. “You can’t really understand any wildlife until you know a few life cycles,” said Ambrose. “It just takes time.” Ambrose traces his passion for raptors to the mascots at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado, where his father was stationed from 1959 to 1962. Live prairie falcons (Falco mexicanus) would swoop over the football field at half time, entertaining fans and filling the future raptor biologist with awe. Around age 13, Ambrose began helping with the birds’ training, chasing errant falcons on his bike and coaxing them down with a lure. Skip Ambrose holds a peregrine falcon nestling in 2004. The nestling is just [...]

 

Read more: http://wildlife.org/a-falcon-legacy/

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