Identification of Peregrine Falcons Using a Computerized Classification System of Toe-Scale Pattern Analysis

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Individual Peregrine Falcons (Falco peregrinus) may be identified by visually comparing their toe-scale patterns. However, these comparisons are tedious when dealing with large numbers of birds. We developed a computerized classification system to facilitate the identification process. The classification system was based on the analysis of photographs of the dorsal surface of the third toes of both feet, and on the formulation of an alphanumeric code that distinguished right from left feet, and single from double scales of 90 Peregrine Falcons (F. p. anatum). Each code was entered into a computerized filing program, and toe-scale patterns were classified by similarities, dividing them into groups. The system was tested by randomly selecting photographs on file, generating a code by established criteria and matching the code with the computerized file code. The system allowed quick differentiation of individual Peregrine Falcons from a large number of catalogued Peregrine Falcons.

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