Treat falcons as friends not foes says DOC
Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication.
IntroductionLock up your doves - falcons are on the prowl. DOC has had calls of complaints from dove, pigeon and even free-range chicken owners that their birds are falling prey to New Zealand falcon/kārearea.
Date: 31 May 2010
Lock up your doves - falcons are on the prowl.
DOC has recently had calls of complaints from dove, pigeon and even free-range chicken owners that their birds are falling prey to New Zealand falcon/kārearea.
“But we are also receiving reports that some people are shooting falcon, and that is really worrying,” said Jack van Hal, Technical Support Officer.
“Falcons are endangered and shooting them is an offense under the Wildlife Act.
“And really, they are truly magnificent birds - capable of flying at speeds over 100 km/h and catching prey larger than itself - definitely worthy of our protection.”
The maximum penalties under the act for shooting falcon are six months imprisonment or up to a $100,000 fine.
“With the recent cases of kereru shooting and gecko smuggling, its worth noticing that our judiciary are becoming less tolerant of crimes against our wildlife and are imposing larger penalties,” said van Hal.
DOC ranger Anita Spencer said calls about problems with falcon come in most years during autumn. The juveniles wander quite widely after fledging and come out onto farmland and even into towns and cities, but there were things people can do to protect their birds.
“Unfortunately pigeons and chickens make an easy target when the birds are looking for food,” said Anita.
“But it’s a seasonal thing with only a short life span, which means it’s more easily managed.
“Keeping your birds inside or covered out of sight for a few days may be enough to discourage falcons from hanging around. They will move on to look for an easier dinner.”
Falcons are found in grassland and forests from sea level to the alpine zone. They prey mostly on small birds, either by diving down from high above, or surprising them by flowing low to the ground.
Marlborough’s Falcons for Grapes project is taking advantage of their hunting instincts by introducing them into vineyards to protect grapes from pest birds.
Jack van Hal said that there are plenty of people who do appreciate and love falcon and will be reporting on anyone they see killing them
“We all need to learn to live with and appreciate these native birds rather than treat them as enemies.”