Raptor Conservation Program at Vancouver International Airport.

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gemini
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Raptor Conservation Program at Vancouver International Airport.

Post by gemini » Sun Oct 03, 2021 2:52 am

This thread is for commentary re the Raptor Conservation Program at Vancouver International Airport.
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Re: Raptor Conservation Program at Vancouver International Airport.

Post by gemini » Sun Oct 03, 2021 3:48 am

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On Sept. 28, 2021 a red tail hawk visited the Delta2 nest. The hawk was banded and wing tagged with a white tag numbered N12.

Photos Courtesy of Sandy
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Read all about the visit starting HERE.

Further investigation revealed this particular hawk is part of an on going conservation program at Vancouver International Airport. Read about it HERE
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Re: Raptor Conservation Program at Vancouver International Airport.

Post by gemini » Sun Oct 03, 2021 4:02 am

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Thanks to zoomers Jean and Sandy following up on the visiting hawk's wing tag ID, more information has been provided by Kristine Kirkby, who is in charge of the Raptor Conservation Program at the Vancouver International Airport.

Raptor Conservation Program at the Vancouver International Airport

This bird is part of a raptor management program at Vancouver International Airport. These sightings are very important to the success of the program.

I tagged N12 as a hatch year bird (hatched in 2021) at the Vancouver International Airport (YVR) on 1 August, 2021 and she was released later that day in Chilliwack, BC, as part of a program to prevent raptors from being struck by aircraft.

Here is some information on the program so you understand a bit more why this program exists. Gary Searing began the program of trapping and removing Red-tailed Hawks and Rough-legged Hawks in October 2010, in order to prevent them from being struck by aircraft, primarily to improve air safety, but also as a raptor conservation tool. Each year the airport has a large number of transient raptors that winter at YVR, as well as resident adults, and locally-raised young birds. Our data show that adult residents are least likely to be involved in collisions with aircraft, but a significant number of young birds and transient birds are struck each year. Therefore, we are attempting to remove those birds from the airport environs by capturing them and releasing them just west of Chilliwack, where there is ample habitat and a reasonable likelihood that they will not return to YVR. We consider this a raptor conservation program because, if successful, we may prevent the deaths of a dozen or more birds each year. We expanded the program in 2013 to all raptors (including owls). To date we have captured and relocated over 1300 raptors – more than 400 of them have been wing-tagged. Most of them were relocated to Chilliwack. So far there have been more than 10,000 resightings of the tagged and banded birds. While most of those sightings are of birds that have returned and are residents of YVR, there have been almost 1000 sightings of over 250 different birds away from Sea-Iona Islands by almost 500 observers who are not part of the YVR wildlife management team.


So far, we have translocated:

Rough-legged Hawks: 47

Red-tailed Hawks: 410

Swainson’s Hawk: 1

Cooper's Hawks: 235

Sharp-shinned Hawks: 7

Bald Eagles: 11 (10 nestlings (not translocated)) + one 3 yr old

Barn Owls: 587

Barred Owl: 8

Great Horned Owls: 50

Short Eared Owls: 43

Snowy Owls: 3

American Kestrels: 121

Merlins: 14

Peregrine Falcons: 10

Gyrfalcons: 2

Northern Harriers: 21

Results of our work have been dramatic. We have reduced raptor strikes at YVR from 65 per year in 2012-13 to as low as 15 in 2016-17. Not only has this resulted in greatly improved safety from a group of birds for which there is really no conventional method of control at airports, but it results in 20-40 more raptors per year that are alive that would likely have been struck by aircraft. And some of these birds are threatened or endangered (in B.C.) such as Barn Owls and Short-eared Owls.

We are wing-tagging Red-tailed Hawks because we need to know who our resident birds are and we are co-operating in a joint program with Seattle- Tacoma and Portland International airports; all of whom are wing-tagging airport Red-tailed Hawks (using different colours for the tag material). Not only is this program contributing to air safety, we are already learning a great deal about our raptors and hope to learn much more as the years pass. To date less than 1/3 of the captured Red-tailed Hawks, have returned to the airport. Those that have are mostly resident adult birds or long-term wintering residents. Less than 20% of the very hazardous juvenile birds have returned. Several of our birds have been seen in Washington State and as far south as Oregon and we have had a few birds from Washington State come to YVR. We have had one sighting of a tagged Red-tailed Hawk from Juneau, Alaska. We have had our Rough-legged Hawks sighted in Vanderhoof, BC; Prespatou, BC (north of Fort St. John); Jasper, Alberta; Davenport, eastern Washington; and Ronan, Montana. Raptors are one of the major strike risks at YVR and we believe that we are mitigating that risk significantly through the capture and relocation of raptors.

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