Peregrine Falcon photos by Will James Sooter



 

 Documenting Peregrine Falcon Behavior

Will Sooter is a Field Naturalist, observer and conservation documentarian. For the past decade Will has been observing and documenting the behavior of a breeding pair of Peregrine Falcons (Falco peregrinus anatum) on the southern California coast. Through observation, data collection and photo documentation he has recorded various aspects of their behavior, beginning with their nesting chronology, hunting/prey capture, nuturing of their eyases and eventual fledgling to juvenile dispersal. It is a commitment that requires long hours in the field, patience, curiosity and a sincere interest in their well-being. His work is sponsored by the University of California, San Diego. 

To date his 10 years of observations and documentation, in this historic and natural habitat, has revealed several new aspects of Peregrine behavior (i.e. among other things, polygamy and incestuousness in the population). These birds, are not only unique and magnificent raptors, but they were once an "endangered species," who had not been documented breeding on the La Jolla bluffs until they were brought to Will's attention by the San Diego City Lifeguards in 2005. Peregrine Falcons are great symbols of what can be achieved when dedicated scientist and motivated citizens work together to help a species recover from the brink of extinction.  

In 2015 a film crew from the BBC Natural History Unit joined Will to capture footage of high speed Peregrine Falcon flight. This new series called "Life in the Air" in the UK and "SuperNature, Wild Flyers" here in the U.S.,  will premier on PBS Nature on June 29 - July 13, 2016. Episode 2 featuring the Peregrines is called "Masters of the Sky." In 2011 a film crew from Wild Horizons / Discovery Channel filmed with Will to capture some amazing slow motion footage these amazing birds. Will also consulted on the segment on Bioluminesence. The episode featuring the Peregrines, called the "Savage Edge" is part of "North America" a 7 part landmark natural history series. that premiered on the Discovery Channel in June 2013. Occassionally it still runs on Animal Planet. Will's agreements with both Discovery & BBC keep filming locations confidential.

As an full time nature observer and documetarian Will prefers to conduct his observations unhindered and uninterrupted, that is the only way he can focus, record data and stay in bio-synchronicity with the Peregrine's behavior. His daily work environment is extremely tedious and challenging, yet graced with many rewarding moments.  Every day he spends at his observation post there is the anticipation of seeing something new and extraordinary!  

                            

 

                                                  

         The above 3 photos show a female Peregrine Falcon attacking Para Gliders who have flown too close to her eyrie during brooding season.   

 

 

 

Thanks to each of you  who understand and support  Will's work.  

 

Steve and Lisa Altman, La Jolla Farms Road residents, owners of bluff top observation post & awesome supportors!

Bill and Michelle Lerach, La Jolla Farms Road residents, owners of bluff top observation post & awesome supportors!

Mr. Buzz Wooley, Chairman Girard Capital, Owner of the Mushroom House and bluff top observation post, an awesome supporter!

Ms. Isabelle Kay,  Academic Coordinator, UCSD NRS. Awesome sponsor and supportor.

The City of San Diego Lifeguards, North Sector, La Jolla, California. An Awesome group of First Responders and life savers

Dr. Clayton M. White,  Professor of Zoology and the Curator of Ornithology, Brigham Young University. 

Dr. Jim H. Enderson,  Professor Emeritus of Biology at Colorado College, Colorado Springs. 

Dr. Tom J. Cade,  Founding Chairman, the Peregrine Fund, Professor Emeritus of Ornithology, Cornell University. 

Dr. Steven K Sherod,  Executive Director, Sutton Avian Research Center, University of Oklahoma. 

Mr. Scott Francis,  Falconer and Affiliate, University of Caliornia, Santa Cruz Predatory Bird Research Group.

Dr. Daniel J. Brimm,  Founding Board Member, Endangered Species Recovery Council, La Jolla, California. 

Mr. Brian Walton,  Founder and Head of  the USC Santa Cruz Preditory Bird Research Group. 

Dr. Jay Vavra,  Biotechnology/Biology Teacher, Environmental Educator of the Year (07) High Tech High, San Diego. 

Dr. Dominque Mendola,  Engineer, Bio Fuels, UCSD, Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Falcon fan. 

Ranger Gary Olson,  former Torrey Pines State Natural Reserve Ranger, now Supervising Ranger, Calaveras Big Tree State Park, Arnold, California. 

Mr. Jeff Sipple,  Falconer and Fellow Peregrine Falcon Monitor for Orange and Los Angeles Counties. 

Ms. Judy Sullivan,  Falcon fan and Observer,  Author of the Peregrines Falcons of Morro Rock website.