+44 1803 865913
By: Dick Dekker
192 pages, Col plates, b/w illus, figs, tabs
This dissertation describes the foraging habits and capture rates of four species of bird-hunting falcons; Peregrine (Falco peregrinus), Merlin (Falco colum-barius), Gyrfalcon (Falco rusticolus), and Prairie Falcon (Falco mexicanus). Eight of the nine study areas were situated in western Canada in widely different habitats, and the observation periods intermittently included all seasons over 44 years, 1965-2008. The various chapters report and compare the location-specific hunting methods and choice of prey of these falcons.
In addition, the book reports on the population dynamics and nest site competition between Peregrines and Prairie Falcons on a sympatric breeding range in Alberta over a span of 48 years. The Peregrine became extirpated during the 1960s. Large-scale efforts to reintroduce the species in the 1990s seemed initially successful, resulting in seven new breeding pairs, but they dwindled to one, while the Prairie Falcons continued to do well.
An outstanding scientific achievement - unprecedented really. This book, by a self-taught naturalist working mostly alone, reveals how careful and sustained field observations can yield fundamental scientific insights into how a predator interacts with and influences its prey. Following in the best tradition of the great natural historians from Aristotle to Niko Tinbergen, Dick Dekker's work, spanning 48 years and based on 4000 hunts and 460 kills by wild peregrines has no parallel in the history of studies on birds of prey - Cr Tom J Cade
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