In Eurasia there are four named sub-species of the Peregrine, with the migratory calidus race breeding in the tundra and arctic islands from northern Europe eastwards across northern Russia where it gradually grades into the darker japonensis race of northeast Siberia. A similar ‘clinal’ gradation occurs with the smaller and darker nominate peregrinus race to south of the calidus distribution. The calidus race is highly migratory, with the birds travelling long distances from their breeding areas to southern Europe, central and southern Africa, Arabia, southern Central Asia and India. Our knowledge of the migratory and wintering behaviour of Eurasian Peregrines has lagged behind that of the well-studied tundrius race of the Peregrine in the Nearctic.
Our research project is designed to provide information on the movements of calidus Peregrines using Argos satellite tracking and to study the population genetics of Peregrines across northern Eurasia. To achieve this we have selected five study localities across northern Russia, with studies to be undertaken at one location each year.
In 2009 we started this project work on the Yamal peninsula, working in the tundra catchment of the Erkuta River. In June we visited 12 Peregrine breeding territories. We trapped and fitted Argos satellite transmitters to 10 breeding adults at nine of these territories (the breeding pair was caught at one territory).
For this project IWC is working in partnership with Alexander Sokolov of the Ecological Research Station of the Institute of Plant & Animal Ecology, Ural branch of Russian Academy of Sciences and Vasiliy Sokolov of the, Institute of Plant & Animal Ecology, Ekaterinburg. Our project work in 2009, and our preliminary work in 2008, has been greatly assisted by members of the IPY-Arctic Predators Project.