GIS Map Gallery: July 2003

Peregrine Falcon Migration

(Click here or on the map for a larger view)


The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has been tracking Peregrine Falcons (Falco peregrinus) since 2001 to learn more about this threatened species. Over the years we have tracked a total of 46 birds, including 12 new birds for the year 2003. In addition to the new birds, we continue to track 4 birds from the 2002 group of falcons and 1 bird from the 2001 group of birds.

This map shows the migration patterns for the peregrine falcons over the past two migration cycles. In general peregrine falcons tend to travel to warmer climates during the late fall and stay there over the winter period, and return to the mid-Atlantic region in late spring. Willow (see inset map) is a good example of peregrine falcons traveling to warmer climates. Willow left Virginia in late October/early November and traveled all the way down to the Costa Rica-Panama border where she remained until she migrated back to Virginia in early April. There are some exceptions to this pattern. Caroline Dare (see inset map), which is a falcon that has been tracked since 2001, has stayed primarily around the Baltimore area after leaving Virginia. This is probably due to the ample supply of food as well as shelter from the winter weather.

These birds travel vast distances in such short periods of time that its awe-inspiring. For instance, Willow flew from Costa Rica to the east coast of Brazil in less than two days, a distance of approximately 2700 miles! Data from this project continues to provide us with greater knowledge of this amazing species.

Maps and diaries of these birds can be viewed at:

* Note: The maps linked from this page may be very large and may take some time to download, depending on your connection speed.

Map Gallery