Monitoring - Wildlife

Raptor Survey

Rationale

Peregrine falcon nest site on the Hornaday River.
Peregrine falcon nest site on the Hornaday River.

Raptors, especially peregrine falcons, are often used as indicators of ecosystem health. Changes in prey abundance and the presence of pesticides can affect raptor populations. Surveying raptors when they are in the Western Arctic to breed provides an indicator of the health of their populations and the condition of the ecosystem throughout their range. The raptor survey coincides with the Canadian Peregrine Falcon Survey (CAPFS), a national effort to monitor the status of peregrine falcon populations in North America every five years.

Objectives

  • To document the number of peregrine falcons and other species of raptors breeding in Aulavik, Ivvavik and Tuktut Nogait national parks.
  • To provide information about peregrine falcon populations in Aulavik, Ivvavik and Tuktut Nogait national parks to the Canadian Peregrine Falcon Survey.

Methods and Information Collected

  • The raptor survey is conducted every 5 years. The next survey will be conducted in 2005.

2000 Raptor Survey

Aulavik National Park
  • Two boat surveys were conducted along the Thomsen River from Green Cabin to the Muskox River. One hiking patrol surveyed 30 km of the Muskox River. Two hiking patrols surveyed areas east and south of Mercy Bay. A helicopter survey was conducted south and east of Nangmagvik Lake.
Ivvavik National Park

  • The survey was conducted by helicopter on the Yukon North Slope, concentrating on areas of known raptor and peregrine falcon nest sites. These areas included the lower reaches of the Firth, Malcolm and Babbage rivers and Herschel Island.
  • Future surveys should include surveying the Firth and Babbage rivers by raft and kayak.
Tuktut Nogait National Park

  • The Hornaday River was surveyed on foot and boat. The canyon section was hiked and the upper Hornaday River was surveyed by canoe. The Roscoe River was surveyed on foot.
  • Future surveys may include the Brock and Roscoe rivers.

2001

  • Raptor observations and nest sites were recorded in Ivvavik, Aulavik and Tuktut Nogait during regular park patrols throughout the summer.

Years of Data

Aulavik National Park


  • Historic data as far back as 1952.
  • Parks Canada Agency raptor survey 2000.

Ivvavik National Park


  • Peregrine falcon surveys on the Yukon North Slope since 1972.
  • Parks Canada Agency raptor survey 2000.

Tuktut Nogait National Park


  • Raptor surveys along the Brock and Hornaday Rivers - 1988, 1990, 1991.
  • Parks Canada Agency raptor survey 2000.

Partners

  • Yukon College
  • Yukon Territorial Government

Results

2000 Raptor Survey

Aulavik National Park
  • A total of 91 active raptor nests were located in the park: 10 peregrine falcon, 63 rough-legged hawk, 16 snowy owl and two short-eared owl.
  • The two short-eared owl nests were the first recorded for Banks Island.
Ivvavik National Park
  • Sixteen known peregrine falcon territories on the Yukon North Slope were visited and four new territories were found. In total, nine occupied territories were found in 2000. Seven of these were productive.
  • These results indicate an increase in the number of peregrine falcons on the Yukon North Slope since 1995. However, a larger area was surveyed in 2000 than was surveyed in the past.
Tuktut Nogait National Park

  • Snowy owl nest with eggs and chicks.
    Snowy owl nest with eggs and chicks.
    The 2000 survey found 13 productive territories, 1 territorial pair and 1 territorial adult male in 15 of 19 known peregrine falcon territories along the Hornaday River. Four new territories with productive pairs were also found.
  • Results indicate a stable population of peregrine falcons on the Hornaday River from 1988 to 2000. The four new peregrine falcon territories found in 2000 indicate a positive, but unconfirmed, trend.

2001

  • New raptor nest sites were identified and observations were recorded in Ivvavik, Aulavik and Tuktut Nogait national parks. This will increase the number of nest sites to be monitored in the next raptor survey in 2005.
  • A database of all historical raptor data in all 3 parks was developed and all data was mapped.

Contacts

Ian McDonald
Conservation Biologist
Parks Canada Agency
P.O. Box 1840
Inuvik, NT X0E 0T0 Phone: (867) 777-8807
Fax: (867) 777-8820
Ian_McDonald@pch.gc.ca