Falcon Encounter

Bird sighting information. Use this forum to report bird sightings (especially rare and unusual birds), census and field count results, and trip reports. Messages posted to this forum will also be sent as a plain text email to the BIRDING-NZ newsgroup.
John Winters
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed May 09, 2018 3:25 pm

Falcon Encounter

Postby John Winters » Wed May 09, 2018 3:30 pm

I live on a farm at Te Awanga, coastal Napier, last night while gathering firewood I heard what I thought was a thrush scratching, but it seemed too noisy.
Investigating I found a falcon hunting around on the ground, I may have glimpsed a small bird go up and down into the tall grass. The falcon was hunting through the grass, then repeatedly up into the lower tree branches, then down again. This kept going for about 10 minutes before it gave up.
It was an adult and came to within 5m of me, to see it running around on the ground hunting was a first for me.
We regularly get falcon on the farm each winter and have been seeing and hearing one often for the last few weeks. The first sign they are around is that the farm doves go quiet, as the falcon often take them.
While a reasonably common sight they are still a thrill to see, especially up close.

John
User avatar
mark ayre
Posts: 156
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2010 8:31 am
Location: Wanaka
Contact:

Re: Falcon Encounter

Postby mark ayre » Wed May 09, 2018 6:28 pm

We have had the same experience with Falcons hunting our chickens on the ground, just walking up to them. The chickens only worry if the falcon is flying around or perched in a tree. it seems they have adapted there hunting to suit the prey. But i think it is not as easy to make the kill as they have go into battle with the chickens.
All the same it solved our Mistry of the drop in chicken numbers !!

Mark
mccoy
Posts: 21
Joined: Fri Sep 19, 2014 8:01 pm

Re: Falcon Encounter

Postby mccoy » Wed May 09, 2018 7:17 pm

Have had the same problem as Mark.
Jim_j
Posts: 466
Joined: Sun Mar 03, 2013 1:04 pm

Re: Falcon Encounter

Postby Jim_j » Wed May 09, 2018 9:37 pm

Interesting comments all.
I wonder if Falcon species overseas also hunt on the ground this way?
Maybe it is an instinctive behavior of the NZ species with previously so many flightless and ground dwelling bird species for prey (and nothing that preyed on them)?

cheers
Jim
mccoy
Posts: 21
Joined: Fri Sep 19, 2014 8:01 pm

Re: Falcon Encounter

Postby mccoy » Thu May 10, 2018 9:06 pm

I'm sure the Harris Hawk (US/Mexico) though not a falcon, hunts to some extent on the ground but in co-operation with their family group. It is a popular falconer's species in the UK.
User avatar
RussCannings
Posts: 658
Joined: Wed Sep 24, 2014 5:23 am

Re: Falcon Encounter

Postby RussCannings » Sat May 12, 2018 7:19 pm

I'm from British Columbia, Canada originally. Cant say I've ever seen American falcons hunting on the ground but have seen goshawk and red-tailed hawk go after gamebirds in a similar way. Most impressive is the Barred Owl, which I have seen both hunting for worms (a la blackbird) and wading into ponds to catch fish and frogs at night! (They basically eat anything it seems, which is not good news for their endangered rival--the Spotted Owl).

Russ C
Now based in Morrinsville, NZ
User avatar
boneywhitefoot
Posts: 297
Joined: Tue Apr 02, 2013 2:49 pm
Location: Upper Hutt
Contact:

Re: Falcon Encounter

Postby boneywhitefoot » Mon May 14, 2018 10:39 pm

Falcon hunting on the ground hunting skinks.
turning over sheep poos looking for them, ignoring rabbits completely.
Poolburn

https://www.flickr.com/photos/46846480@ ... ed-public/
Boney Whitefoot Photography
https://boneywhitefoot.wordpress.com/
fras444
Posts: 117
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2013 5:06 pm

Re: Falcon Encounter

Postby fras444 » Thu May 17, 2018 7:52 pm

My mate who use to work for Auckland zoo did a couple of days at wingspan. He did a huge, self interest study on the nz falcon. One thing he would always tell me was how blown away he was, how much alike our nz falcon was to the "dinosaur raptor" hence where birds of prey got the name raptor from. The way it walked was very much like how a carnivorous dinosaur on two legs, would walk (Jurassic park and scientific research ofcouse..) Showing how potentially how old/ancient our species could be, and how much it had evolved to potentially fill that role of ground predator. NZ falcons could have spent a lot of time on the ground and potentially predated on the ground... so potentially you have discovered or proven just how ancient or adapt to the bird world NZ was... Definitely think and know that our Falcons are one of the most intelligent, fearless and fierce in the Falcon world..
User avatar
David Riddell
Posts: 723
Joined: Sat Jul 18, 2009 3:46 pm

Re: Falcon Encounter

Postby David Riddell » Fri May 18, 2018 9:02 am

All birds are descended from dinosaurs (strictly speaking they are dinosaurs), and the ones that run around a lot on big strong legs are inevitably going to look distinctly dinosaurian. But I'm not sure that long legs and a propensity to be active on the ground are necessarily primitive characters in the falcon family. I agree with Jim, these are more likely recent adaptations to a densely forested environment and an abundance of ground-dwelling prey. Their closest relatives (other falcons) are all strong fliers (and of course the NZ falcon is still one itself), and looking at the wider bird family tree, the closest relatives of the falcons are songbirds and parrots, most of which have strongly aerial lifestyles (falcons aren't particularly closely related to hawks at all - see https://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=133524).
User avatar
boneywhitefoot
Posts: 297
Joined: Tue Apr 02, 2013 2:49 pm
Location: Upper Hutt
Contact:

Re: Falcon Encounter

Postby boneywhitefoot » Fri May 18, 2018 9:09 am

All birds are descended from dinosaurs (strictly speaking they are dinosaurs), and the ones that run around a lot on big strong legs are inevitably going to look distinctly dinosaurian.
really lol
and you know cause you done seen what they looked like???
I knew you was old, just not hoooow old lol

sorry could not resist :P <3
Boney Whitefoot Photography
https://boneywhitefoot.wordpress.com/

Return to “Bird Sightings and Alerts”