Since the Melbourne Peregrine Falcons fledged along with dear little Yurruga a week later, many of us have been really wanting to see some more falcons. What is so wonderful about falcons? is it the cute antics of the little dads? the gentle but stern look but deep affection by the Mums? is it that there is no sibling rivalry? or is it everything rolled up into a cute fuzzy white ball with a pink beak and legs that turns into the fastest bird in the world in 37 days?
I have been upset about the behaviour of the Ravens on Daisy’s nest today. They returned for a third time at the eggs. The pair of them began rattling and pecking at sticks on the nest. It was a very threatening performance. So, I needed something to divert my attention for awhile. As it happened, the streaming cam went off line and has been off line for more than 7 hours now. Like magic, however, a video that I had bookmarked on 29 November popped open.
On 29 November I wrote a blog about these little falcons. I have included some information for you in case you missed that one but I have added a number of videos for those that did read about New Zealand’s smallest raptor. With winter here it was even nice just to see some green plants!!!!!!
Here is the link to the streaming cam:
The Karearea is the smallest falcon found in New Zealand. Its other names include Bush Hawk, Sparrow Hawk, Bush Falcon, Southern Falcon, Western Falcon, or Quail Hawk. It is also called the New Zealand falcon. It measures 40-50 cm in length. Males weight 205-340 grams (a half to 3/4 of a pound) while the females exhibit reverse sex dimorphism and weight 420 to 720 grams (or nearly a pound to 1.7 of a pound).
At first glance, the Karearea might look like a Peregrine Falcon.
They have “broad wings, long tail, long yellow legs and toes, yellow eye-ring and cere, dark eyes, and a distinct moustache stripe from the base of the strongly hooked bill down the face. Adults are brown-backed with a streaked cream breast and a rufous under tail and thighs; fledglings and juveniles are dark brown, lack cream streaking, with blue-grey legs, eye-ring and cere.” (https://nzbirdsonline.org.nz/species/new-zealand-falcon) I will also add they have a tomial tooth.
The falcons are listed as being ‘rare’. The most common threats include habitat destruction, degradation, or modification, cats, other animals including pigs and possums that take their eggs and chicks as well as hedgehogs. Electrocution due to uninsulated power lines as well as shooting by humans are common. We had hedgehogs in our garden when we lived in England. They ate the fruit that fell from the apple and plum trees in our garden and had lots of fleas but I have never thought about them as predators. Have a look:
The chicks have begun taking short flights so the camera operators have some trouble finding them. Soon they will be gone but for now, we can enjoy them a bit. Be patient. Here are some video clips of earlier feedings, etc. Enjoy!
These very small falcons are adorable. I hope you enjoy spending some time with them.
Sometimes it seems that everything is going ‘wrong’. That nothing positive is happening. Everyone reading my blog loves birds – birds of all species. And we are all aware of some of the human created ‘things’ (for a better word) that cause great harm. These include longline fishing, rodenticide, monofilament fishing line, and lead in hunting and fishing equipment. There is some great news coming out of Hawaii, SW Florida, and Massachusetts that is positive. First to those beautiful islands in the Pacific who voted to save the sea birds like the Albatross from longline fishing boats by using torii lines.* Have a read. This is just wonderful news because it might influence everyone else to join in.
Because of the large number of sea birds including the American Pelican, the Conservancy of Southwest Florida is moving on several interventions to stop the birds from getting tangled in monofilament line from fishing. These include patrols, cutting down on the places and times and dates that people can fish, etc.
In Massachusetts, State Representative Jim Hawkins is introducing a bill to ban rodenticide use in the state. Fingers crossed after hearings, it will pass. It is a beginning for a huge problem. The raptors taken into care that are poisoned will definitely consume more rats and mice than the poison kills.
These are just incredibly positive steps that can give each of us hope that we can make the world a safer place for our feathered friends.
I will be sending a report on Daisy some time tomorrow but it will probably be 18:00 CDT – very late for me. The streaming cam remains offline. There is very little that we know: it is currently raining, Daisy is unable to cover the eggs properly so they will get wet which could damage the pores, the Ravens know there are eggs, and Daisy has to eat. It is not clear if Daisy is finished laying eggs or if there will be another in the morning. I know that each of us wants Daisy’s little ducklings to jump off and everything to be right with the world but I fear that will not happen. My hope is that Daisy is not harmed in the process of her trying to protect her eggs. And on that note, I will say goodnight. It has been a worrisome day.
Thank you so much for joining me. Take care everyone. Stay safe!
Thank you to the following for their streaming cams where I took my screen shots: Falcon Cam NZ and Sea Eagles@Birdlife Australia Discovery Centre.