The ‘WI-FI’ nest

Nick Mooney, Wildlife Biologist, has been working with Natureworld, to monitor a Peregrine Falcon nest, and describes the project:

“The cliff pothole nest site that is the subject of this remote, wi-fi camera has a typical clutch of 3, just as typically completed on the 16th September and hatched 18-19th October. The adults are not leg ringed or otherwise marked – that phase of our research ended many years ago so all I can say is they are at least 2 years old for the female and 3 for the male. They seem unusually attentive, especially so the (smaller) male who tries to brood more often than usual, although already the chicks are getting too large for him.

So far the male has been doing virtually all the hunting while she stands guard and prey has been nearly exclusively starlings with a few rosellas (both eastern and green), a noisy miner and a skylark, a typical mix for this nest in the past and this rural habitat. Once the chicks are about 3 weeks old they are large enough to defend themselves against nest raids by ravens and conserve heat so they can be left alone for longer. They also naturally demand more food and the female will start hunting then. Larger prey such as masked lapwings and galahs may consequently appear. Typically, food is provided every few hours of daylight – mostly it is fresh caught but sometimes it is leftovers or food cached nearby.

This educational project has been set up to avoid the necessity for approval from an Animal Ethics Committee by using a static, remote camera without manipulation of the birds. The very high fidelity, persistence and resilience peregrines show to low levels of disturbance is also a key asset of the project, taken advantage of through my extensive experience with this species and the generosity, expertise and experience of Simon Plowright of Natureworld.

The nest is on private property and permission for access is very limited. It is a nest well known to locals and has been the subject of past persecution so I judge no or very little increased security risk from this project. The species is wholly protected by law and I and others monitor the site. We also have other cameras secretly installed nearby to help us monitor security.”

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