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Skip Ambrose
Skip Ambrose

Skip Ambrose was interviewed on December 5, 1991 by Dan O'Neill in the audio studio at Elmer E. Rasmuson Library at the University of Alaska Fairbanks in Fairbanks, Alaska. At the time of this interview, Skip and Dan had been good friends for about sixteen years, having met through a mutual acquaintance, raptor biologist Robert J. (Bob) Ritchie. O'Neill and Ritchie had been friends for thirty-two years. Ritchie's name and his work with peregrine falcons on the Yukon River come up frequently in the interview. In this interview, Skip talks about his early research on peregrine falcons along the Yukon, Nation and Kandik Rivers within Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve, how the birds are captured, banded and studied, the results of his research, and managing the area to best protect the falcons.

Digital Asset Information

Archive #: Oral History 91-22-56

Project: Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve
Date of Interview: Dec 5, 1991
Narrator(s): Skip Ambrose
Interviewer(s): Dan O'Neill
Location of Interview:
Funding Partners:
National Park Service
Alternate Transcripts
There is no alternate transcript for this interview.
There is no slideshow for this person.

After clicking play, click on a section to navigate the audio or video clip.


1) Personal background

2) Involvement in the Yukon-Charley area

3) Endangered species and peregrine falcons

4) His 1973 trip to the Yukon-Charley area to study peregrine falcons

5) Who they ran into on the 1973 trip

6) What they found in terms of peregrines and other peregrine studies on the upper Yukon River

7) Spotting peregrine falcons

8) Counting, trapping, and banding the birds, and what peregrine researchers want to find out

9) Trapping methods

10) More on trapping peregrines

11) Peregrines' response to researchers

12) Management of the Yukon-Charley area for the falcons

13) Pros and cons of preserve designation

14) Outlook for peregrine falcon populations

15) Managing Yukon-Charley for birds

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After clicking play, click a section of the transcript to navigate the audio or video clip.


Section 1: Ambrose, Robert Earl "Skip"\ South Carolina\ raptors\ falconers - Air Force cadets\ Colorado Springs\ Eielson Air Force Base\ Clemson University|

Section 2: Ritchie, Bob\ raptor ecology\ Schwartz, Jerry\ ANILCA\ Fish and Wildlife Service\ land status - upper Yukon\ park philosophy versus wildlife refuge philosophy\ federal wildlife refuges - philosophy\ Arctic National Wildlife Refuge\ peregrine falcons\ National Park Service - philosophy\ ANILCA - enabling legislation|

Section 3: Endangered Species Act\ DDT\ Yukon-Charley - peregrine falcons\ Klein, Dave\ Cooperative Studies Unit|

Section 4: Ambrose, Skip\ Ritchie, Bob\ Ritchie, Bobby\ Ritchie, Amy\ Yukon River - interdictions\ falcon trip - story\ Yukon-Charley - peregrine falcons\ knowledge of peregrines\ peregrines - responses to questions about|

Section 5: Potts, Mike\ Ulvi, Steve\ Ulvi, Dana\ river people - site selection\ "back-to-the-land"\ Edwards, Charlie\ researchers - identification with river people\ National Park Service - planning|

Section 6: DDT\ peregrine populations\ DDT - U.S. restrictions\ DDT - British restrictions\ spotting equipment\ Cade, Tom\ Colville River\ Anderson, Jim\ White, Clay\ Haugh, John\ raptors - pesticide analysis\ pesticide analysis - raptors\ raptors - data-sharing\ falconers - attitudes|

Section 7: peregrine falcons - spotting\ falcons - characteristics\ falcons - nesting characteristics\ falcons - calls\ Calico Bluff - falcons\ peregrine falcons - sites\ Nation Bluff - falcons|

Section 8: peregrine falcons - counting\ nesting pairs\ falcons - trapping methods\ spotting equipment\ falcons - banding\ peregrine falcons - migration\ pesticide use outside the U.S.\ mercury\ prey remains\ peregrine falcons - adult mortality\ peregrine falcons - territory\ falcons - feather sampling\ falcons - blood testing\ heavy metals\ pesticides\ banding - color bands\ peregrine falcons - dispersal area\ banding - aluminum bands\ peregrine falcons - sub-species|

Section 9: peregrine falcons - trapping methods\ pigeon - harness\ avian prey\ "stooping"\ peregrine falcons - stooping speed\ peregrine falcons - prey catching\ "great-footed hawk"\ bait - pigeons|

Section 10: catching pigeons - Fairbanks\ Ambrose, Skip\ Ritchie, Bob\ aeriel - trapping\ peregrine trapping - no injuries\ peregrine falcons - handling\ hoods - raptors\ "cast socks"|

Section 11: peregrines - intelligence\ anthropomorphism\ peregrine falcons - research methods\ banding\ research methods - danger to subject\ rapelling\ rock faces - instability\ rock climbing - technology\ loose rock - danger\ Calico Bluff\ talus slope\ sheep hunters\ falcon research - aesthetics\ cliffs - advantages to falcons|

Section 12: ANILCA\ preservation - peregrine falcons\ National Park Service - administrative inconsistency\ Upper Yukon - peregrine populations\ Yukon-Charley - significant values\ Yukon-Charley - cultural values\ Yukon-Charley - natural history|

Section 13: National Park Service - visitor promotion\ Yukon-Charley - impact\ government management - impact\ visitors - impact\ visitor support - natural values\ National Park Service - mandate\ Fish and Wildlife Service - mandate\ park versus refuge regarding preservation\ ANILCA\ Doyon - upper Kandik\ roads - potential\ pipelines - potential\ bridges - potential\ Eagle Bluff - peregrine falcons\ peregrines - sensitivity to human activity\ resource development - peregrine planning|

Section 14: peregrine falcons - populations\ Upper Yukon - peregrine falcons\ Yukon-Charley - peregrine falcons\ peregrine falcons - nesting criteria\ peregrine falcons - reproduction rate\ Charley River\ Kandik River\ Tatonduk River\ pesticides - impact on raptors\ DDT - United States ban\ mercury - Brazilian Amazon\ Brazilian Amazon - mining\ habitat loss\ rainforest loss\ toxins - effect prediction\ eggshell thinning|

Section 15: National Park Service - peregrine research\ endangered species - responsibility for\ Fish and Wildlife Service\ visitor viewing - peregrine falcons\ remote control video - peregrine falcons\ Eagle Bluff - peregrines falcons\ Yukon-Charley - visitor center\ peregrine falcons - remote viewing\ remote viewing - benefit to researchers\ Denali National Park - golden eagles\ Jukebox - video integration\ Eagle - attitudes|