The Canadian Peregrine Foundation

Project Track-'em: Lightning

A Falcon that knows no boundaries visited United States, Cuba and Haiti before arriving in Dominican Republic

Translated by Pedro Genaro Rodríguez and Neil Thomas
from an article by Narciso Acevedo in Ultima Hora
(March 5, 2002)

Protection:  The Canadian Peregrine Foundation advises that its name is "Lightning" and it's part of a study which also includes another falcon that flew to Colombia.

San Francisco de Macorís.

The Peregrine Falcon that has turned into a true attraction here at Duarte Park, is named "Lightning" and visited many countries before arriving in the Dominican Republic.  It was released last October to determine the migration patterns of this species. The data appears in a very detailed report offered by the Canadian Peregrine Foundation on the internet.  Also, Pedro Genaro Rodríguez, member of "Sociedad Ornitológica Hispaniola"  (Ornithological Society of Hispaniola), gave important news about the species, adding that it was saved from extinction with the help of entities such as the Canadian Peregrine Foundation and the Cornell University, pioneers in this matter.  The name "Lightning" was issued to the falcon through a contest when it was still very young.

Mr. Pedro Genaro Rodríguez, who has been a birdwatcher for more than 20 years, says that francomacorisanos, are very lucky to see this bird almost everyday, because it is a marvelous bird that was even revered by ancient Egyptians.

The Peregrine Falcon
The scientific name is Falco pereginus, that comes from its habit of flying long distances, almost without resting. From the three sub-species that exist in North America (pealei, tundrius and anatum), Lightning belongs to anatum, and this name comes from its proclivity to attack ducks.  It also feeds on little birds, turtledoves and rock doves, which it attacks by surprise, almost always after a dive that can surpass 220 mph. The strike can be so hard that the impact alone can kill its prey.

This expert, who gave this newspaper a vast document compiled on the internet, said that the falcon that visits us started to fly when it was only 41 days old, and that because of its quick development was named Lightning, that also means bolt.  He also explained that the purpose of adding the satellite tracking system to the falcon's back is to follow its migration habits.

World travelers
The other falcon of the experiment which flew with Lightning, migrated to Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, where it is located currently.  At first Lightning stayed in Canada, but then made its move to New Jersey, from where it moved to Virginia, where it stayed for a while before starting a big flight to the Bahamas, then to Cuba in the area of Camaguey, where on the 3rd of November had to deal with the strong winds of hurricane Michelle.

As soon as weather conditions got better, it headed to Haiti, from where it flew to Dominican Republic, being localized on the 12th of November at Pico Duarte, the highest elevation in the Caribbean.  From there it went to La Vega, where it stayed for ten days.  Then it moved to San Francisco de Macorís where it stayed for the new year. 

It moved back to La Vega and later to Hato Mayor, in the east part of the country. While returning to the northwest, the falcon tried to get out of the island and it was located in open water 100 KM from the country, on the northeast, but it got back to La Vega before establishing in San Francisco de Macorís.

Mr. Rodríguez says that  this town offers the bird a feeding niche with the local rock doves and other birds, and also some tall buildings and telecommunications antennas where the bird likes to perch, like in its natural habitat.

Return to Lightning's page

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