Author Topic: Final Results: New Hampshire Peregrine Falcon 2011 Breeding Season  (Read 1234 times)

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Final Results:  New Hampshire Peregrine Falcon 2011 Breeding Season

This spring marked the 31st consecutive breeding season in the post-DDT
recovery era for New Hampshire’s state-listed threatened peregrine
falcons.  Ever since a pair was found nesting in Franconia Notch in
1981, our state’s peregrine population has been rebounding at a very
gradual pace.  After three decades of recovery, there still remain many
seemingly suitable sites that lack confirmed breeding pairs.
Nonetheless, 2011’s total of 20 territorial pairs sets a new state
record-high, surpassing the previous benchmark of 18 pairs noted in
2007.  Each of the five most recent breeding seasons (2007-2011)
resulted in 12 or 13 successful nests annually, whereas before 2007,
there were NO years where we found 12 or more successful nests in a
single breeding season.  And the current 5-yr running average of just
over 28 young fledged per year has never been higher at any time in more
than 30 years of monitoring in the Granite State.

In 2011, biologists and volunteer falcon observers confirmed incubation
of eggs by 16 (80%) of the state’s 20 territorial pairs, up just
slightly from 15 pairs found to be incubating in 2010, but still below
the record of 17 incubating pairs set in 2007.  Of this year’s 16
incubating pairs, 12 (75%) were successful at fledging at least one
young.  A total of 26 young fledged from peregrine nests in New
Hampshire in 2011, and the 1.63 young fledged per nesting pair is right
on the long-term average for nesting pair productivity in the state.  Of
the five New Hampshire breeding territories that have been designated
for special triennial (in 2003, 2006, 2009, 2012, 2015) sampling under
the USFWS national post-delisting breeding monitoring protocol, four
(80%) were productive in 2011, fledging a total of 10 young.

One of the more interesting aspects of the 2011 breeding season in NH
was confirmation of immature (1-yr old) females at four separate
territories (Abeniki Mtn., Nashua Coptic Church, Ragged Mtn., and
Woodchuck Ledge) three of which were newly occupied sites this season.
Previously, in three decades of monitoring, we had never detected such a
high percentage (20%) of 1-yr olds of either sex in the state’s
breeding population.  We anticipate that presence of these younger
females at newly occupied sites will translate into greater productivity
in future breeding seasons.

Biologists and cooperators accessed four NH peregrine eyries in 2011,
banding a total of seven nestlings.  We attempted to access two
additional sites, but were unsuccessful due to safety issues and weather
concerns.  Efforts to determine the banded status of New Hampshire’s
breeding peregrines in 2011 yielded the following results.  Of 40 known
individuals (20 pairs), banded status was confirmed for 27 (68%) and
unconfirmed for 13 (32%).  Of the two-thirds of the breeding population
where banded status was known, 20 (74%) were confirmed to be unbanded,
while seven (26%) were color-banded.  Positive IDs were made on six
individuals (86%) of the seven color-banded birds, as follows:  

~ an 11-yr old male raised in 2000 at Cathedral Ledge in Bartlett, NH
now breeding at Brady-Sullivan Tower in Manchester, NH and mated to a
6-yr old female raised in 2005 at the Flagship Bank Building in
Worcester, MA;

~ a 7-yr old female raised in 2004 at Ryegate Quarry in Ryegate, VT now
breeding at Holts Ledge in Lyme, NH;

~ a 3-yr old male raised in 2008 at U. Mass-Amherst Library Tower in
Amherst, MA now territorial at the Coptic Christian Church in Nashua,

~ a 2-yr old male raised in 2009 at Owls Head in Benton, NH now
breeding at Pond Ledge in Haverhill, NH;

~ a 1-yr old female raised in 2010 at Painted Walls in Albany, NH now
territorial at Ragged Mountain Bulkhead in Andover, NH.

Overall, of the total of 340 color-banded fledgling peregrine falcons
from New Hampshire nests since the early 1990s, a total of 79 (23.2%)
have eventually been re-sighted (either alive or dead) and reported to

Management activities on behalf of New Hampshire's state-listed
threatened peregrine falcons are coordinated and carried out by NH
Audubon under contract with the NH Fish & Game Department, and with
support and guidance from both NHFG and from the U.S. Fish & Wildlife
Service, and with the cooperation of other federal, state, and private
land owners and managers.  Additional support for monitoring comes from
individual donors, and from the extraordinarily important help of many
volunteer climbers and birders.

Thanks to all who participate in this effort!


Site-by-site summary for 2011 NH Peregrine breeding season:

Abeniki Mtn (Dixville) - incubated, failed w/o hatch, 1-yr old female

Bear Mtn   (Hebron) - 2 fledglings, not banded

Brady-Sullivan (Manchester) - 3 banded fledglings, 1y died about 1 wk
post-fledge, 1 unhatched egg recovered; (photo from site attached)

Cathedral Ledge (Bartlett) - 1 banded fledgling; (photo from site

Coptic Christian Church (Nashua) - pair present, no evidence of
incubation, 1-yr old female; (photo from site attached)

Devils Slide (Stark) - 2 fledglings, not banded

Diamond Peaks (2nd College Grant) - pair present, no evidence of
**Eaglet Spire (Franconia) - incubated, failed before hatch

**Frankenstein (Harts Location) - 1 fledgling, not banded

**Holts Ledge (Lyme) - 3 banded fledglings; (photo from site attached)

I-95 Bridge (Portsmouth) - 2 fledglings, not banded

**Owls Head (Benton) - 3 fledglings, not banded

Painted Walls (Albany) - 2 fledglings, not banded; (photo from site

Peaked Mtn (Piermont) - 2 fledglings, not banded

Pond Ledge (Haverhill) - 2 fledglings, not banded; (photo from site

Ragged Mtn (Andover) - pair present, no evidence of incubation, 1-yr
old female

Rattlesnake Mtn (Rumney) - incubated, failed before hatch

**Russell Crag (Woodstock) - 3 fledglings, not banded
Square Ledge (Albany) - failed before or after hatch

Woodchuck Ledge (Albany) - pair present, no evidence of incubation,
1-yr old female

(** = identifies nest sites designated for special monitoring protocol
during 2003, 2006, 2009, 2012, and 2015 breeding seasons using a survey
methodology described in the USFWS national post-delisting peregrine
falcon monitoring plan)

- Chris

Chris Martin, Senior Biologist
Conservation Department, New Hampshire Audubon
84 Silk Farm Road, Concord, NH  03301

Office phone:  603/224-9909 x317;  Fax:  603/226-0902;
E-mail:;  Web:

New Hampshire Audubon -- Protecting New Hampshire's natural environment
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