World’s fastest creature successfully released back to the wild!

World’s fastest creature successfully released back to the wild!

This orphaned Peregrine Falcon was trained using falconry derived operant conditioning techniques which enabled it to then be free-flown daily.  It was fitted with a real-time GPS transmitter which recorded all flight data which was used to track fitness progression and eventually evidence of successful hunting.

The tracker records total distance flown, current and maximum speed, and climb rate.  All flight data is displayed over a google map of the area on an iPad.  For the first time anywhere in the World we can now ‘see’ what raptors undergoing rehabilitation are capable of and how their fitness is building, yet they can be called back after each free-flight session to be fed (until they develop successful hunting techniques) and safely housed until they are fully ready for final release!

The attached picture shows the falcon just prior to final release (several weeks after daily free-flying began) after she made her first wild kill, something they must be capable of doing consistently if they are to have any chance of survival. The lower section shows a recorded flight track, it can be seen that she used thermals to gain height and the numbers down the line of the hunting dive are the flight speeds in miles-per-hour, so the highest recorded speed in this particular instance was just under 200kmh!

Author
Michael Calvin
Wildlife Group
The Raptor Fliers Association of Western Australia