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Contact: Yvonne Menard, 805-658-5725
Dr. Peter Sharpe will discuss the remarkable recovery of peregrine falcons on the California Channel Islands during the November From Shore to Sea lecture. Today there are over 50 resident peregrine pairs, well in excess of the peregrine population in 1955 when they disappeared from the islands.
Sharpe conducted a survey in 2016 and found peregrine nests on all eight of the Channel Islands. He identified 46 different breeding territories with at least 57 chicks known to have hatched. Their recovery has been dramatic with an average of 66 chicks hatching each year since 2013.
Historically, peregrine falcons were common residents on all eight of the Channel Islands with an estimated 15-30 pairs. Their numbers plummeted across North America in the late 1940s. In his presentation Sharpe will review the overwhelming evidence that the cause of their decline was likely due to DDT contamination.
His research has found that the northern Channel Islands are a stronghold for peregrine falcons possibly due to more suitable nesting habitat and a larger prey base as compared to the southern Channel Islands.
Working for the Institute of Wildlife Studies, Sharpe has directed peregrine falcon monitoring and the bald eagle restoration program on the Channel Islands since 1997. Additionally, Sharpe has taken part in the research and management of other species, including the island fox, golden eagle, osprey, and loggerhead shrike. Sharpe received his Ph.D in Zoology from Colorado State University in 1998.
The talk will be held on Thursday, November 9, 2017. The From Shore to Sea lecture series is sponsored by Channel Islands National Park to further the understanding of current research on the Channel Islands and surrounding marine waters. The 2017 lecture series will take place at 7:00 pm on the second Thursday of each month, January through December, at the Channel Islands National Park Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center, 1901 Spinnaker Drive, in Ventura Harbor. The programs are free and open to the public.