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Written by Bryan Watts
July 7, 2010
James in 2004, on a cable along the James River Bridge, where he bred for 18 years. Photo by Bryan Watts.
Only about 3% of peregrine falcons live beyond 10 years and according to the USGS Bird Banding Laboratory the longevity record for a banded falcon in the wild is 19 years and 6 months for North America. The breeding male on the James River Bridge, nicknamed “James,” appears to have been lost during the early fall, but not before he became a global star in the falcon world.
James was hatched in 1990 on the Leg-Mason Building (Baltimore, MD) and banded by raptor expert, Craig Koppie. James was first observed on the James River Bridge by Shawn Padgett in 1992, and bred there for the first time in 1993. He survived for 20 years and 5 months. In his 18 breeding seasons, he produced 54 chicks that survived to banding age. Previous lifetime reproductive success across North America for both males and females range between 22 and 25 chicks. James more than doubled these values.
Intricate pattern of feathering on the wing lining of an adult peregrine. Photo by Bryan Watts.
James watching the Center for Conservation Biology researchers visiting his nest, from a cable along the James River Bridge, 2004. Photo by Bryan Watts.
The lift tower structure of the James River Bridge has been the breeding site and territory of James since 1992. This bridge is also the location of the live webcam that allows the public to follow breeding activity. Photo by Bryan Watts.
Project sponsored by the Center for Conservation Biology (CCB) and numerous other partners – see partners recognition page at VaFalcons website.
An adult whimbrel forages for fiddler crabs along the edge of a tide gut just outside Willis Wharf, Virginia. Whimbrel come to the lower Delmarva and gorge on fiddler crabs to replenish energy reserves before crossing the Atlantic. Photo by Bryan Watts.