Golden Bay Falcons

General birdwatching discussion, help with bird identification, and all other things relating to wild birds and birding in NZ that don't fit in one of the other forums.
User avatar
Ken George
Posts: 34
Joined: Wed Jul 08, 2020 11:47 am
Location: Pohara, Golden Bay
Contact:

Re: Golden Bay Falcons

Postby Ken George » Tue Feb 02, 2021 8:33 pm

We're being treated to some thrilling aerial food swap displays by the Pohara falcons. They have successfully produced another offspring this year (January 2021) and 2-3 times a day the parents are overhead Pohara teaching the young one to fly and to hunt. The aerial food exchanges are very noisy affairs, the male calling loudly as he comes in from the west and the female comes up from the bluffs to meet him (she's also calling loudly) and they both roll over so that they almost come together feet first and the exchange takes place. Today they included the young one in the exchange, the next few days will be interesting as the young one watches mum and learns that missing the exchange and dropping dinner means an empty belly. The three falcons are easily distinguishable from each other, the female is at least a third bigger than the male, and a lot darker. The young falcon is also dark. Our resident male is starting to show his years a bit. I first saw him in 2007, he was an adult then, so he's at least 14 or 15 years old. He's getting quite pale in comparison to his mate. I'm not sure what the average life-span of a falcon is.
Jim_j
Posts: 643
Joined: Sun Mar 03, 2013 1:04 pm

Re: Golden Bay Falcons

Postby Jim_j » Wed Feb 03, 2021 8:31 pm

Exciting stuff Ken - would be a thrill to see.

Cheers
Jim
User avatar
Ken George
Posts: 34
Joined: Wed Jul 08, 2020 11:47 am
Location: Pohara, Golden Bay
Contact:

Re: Golden Bay Falcons

Postby Ken George » Wed Mar 10, 2021 9:06 am

The resident pair have successfully fledged a young female (bigger than the male now). She has taken up residence on the bank above my backyard, we see and hear her multiple times per day, every day. She still sits on a dead punga and calls out to the male who up until recently had been bringing her food, now he appears to have stopped doing that, so she's on her own. I have seen her with prey catch either in her beak or claws, so looks like she has figured out how the future works.
No_01.jpg
No_01.jpg (291.57 KiB) Viewed 351 times
Davidthomas
Posts: 1164
Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2011 10:05 am

Re: Golden Bay Falcons

Postby Davidthomas » Wed Mar 10, 2021 9:36 am

Awesome Ken! Nice to get a happy ending to the nest that we observed in December. They're spectacular show offs that pair when they're breeding. The male has to be a fantastic hunter at the rate he was bringing food items in when we were sitting having a beer! One or two an hour.
User avatar
Ken George
Posts: 34
Joined: Wed Jul 08, 2020 11:47 am
Location: Pohara, Golden Bay
Contact:

Re: Golden Bay Falcons

Postby Ken George » Tue Apr 20, 2021 3:52 pm

The young female is still hanging around Pohara, we see or hear her every day. The adult male is still around too but the adult female (parents of the young female) seems to have moved off, as she normally does at this time of the year. The young female sits in trees in my backyard and calls, and my God, she is loud!! If you were standing within a couple of meters of her when she lets rip, it would damage your hearing, I'm not exagerating. The second recording also has an alarm call by one of the local tui, sitting only meters from the falcon as she departs.
https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/335710881
https://macaulaylibrary.org/asset/335711151
Last edited by Ken George on Thu May 13, 2021 7:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
andrewcrossland
Posts: 1575
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 2:29 pm
Location: Christchurch

Re: Golden Bay Falcons

Postby andrewcrossland » Thu Apr 22, 2021 11:35 pm

I had a nice flyby a young falcon directly over Tata Beach today, flying leisurely eastwards. Is it one of the Pohara birds?
User avatar
Ken George
Posts: 34
Joined: Wed Jul 08, 2020 11:47 am
Location: Pohara, Golden Bay
Contact:

Re: Golden Bay Falcons

Postby Ken George » Fri Apr 23, 2021 10:05 am

As far as I can judge it, the Pohara family is centred in the bluffs above the cafe and Ratanui Lodge. Their range extends from the Motupipi estuary to the west to the ridgeline between Ligar Bay and Wainui to the east. The southern extent is almost as far as Takaka town, though I haven't seen them around town itself. I believe there is another different falcon in Wainui over the hill to the east. To the west, beyond the Takaka river, are more falcon, including the Pakawau female. From time to time I have also seen random falcon transiting over Pohara, with the resident male or female coming up to check them out. At a guess I'd say the Tata flyover was a local, but it could have been one just passing through. An unintended consequence of the Covid lock downs of 2020 was more time out on my push-bike than I had in years. Riding round the local area slowly for months makes you familiar with what's going on around the 'hood. The biggest difference I can tell between the Pohara family group and the other Golden Bay falcon is the amount of noise they make. The parental male and female are very vocal, both individually and in their interactions. It's interesting that the young female offspring is also noisy, could it be that her loud vocalisation is a learned behaviour?

Return to “General Birding Discussion”